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With snow falling and ski season here, I start ramping up to make language arts even more interesting and fun. I team up with the science teacher and social studies teacher on my team as well and we have a cross curricular unit. We delve into the history of Nome in 1925, where sled dogs were the heroes.
To start off the unit, I read the story book, The Great Serum Race, Blazing the Iditarod Trail, by Debbie S. Miller. It is a true story based on the 1925 problem Nome, Alaska dealt with due to the diphtheria bacteria. After I read this, the science teacher starts her unit on microbes and cells, explaining bacteria, viruses, and such. The social studies teacher discusses The Gold Rush, Alaska history, and has her students investigate the map. The math teacher can't fit her unit into our time line, but she does try to incorporate how math is important with the distances each dog team ran, geometry with Cylinders.
I have my students read the short article attached, Sled Dogs were Lifesavers in the Great Serum Race. As my student also do not all comprehend what a relay is, we line up in the hallway (or outside if its not too cold) and make signs for each stop of the serum race, and reenact the relay, passing the "medicine" cylinder along the "trail".
Then, my students do the "Nome Newspaper" Paper, bringing in their internet research skills, and writing skills. The assignment gives a lot of "voice and Choice", as students get to choose their topic and the mode.
My students love this unit, and talk about it as their best memory of middle school. :)