Catherine and Eric Benson returned to Gilman in January with their sled dog team, presenting an assembly to the Lower School. Students were captivated by the dogs, the process of building and training a mushing team, and the gear involved in a race.
The Iditarod is a natural fit for Gilman boys, exposing them to the ideals of honor, integrity, respect, humility and excellence. It also ties into the math curriculum developed by third grade homeroom teacher Jennifer Reiter and science teacher Ellen Rizzuto. Students use what they learn about the Iditarod for a hands on, real-world math unit from January through March. They then choose fantasy teams and mushers to track during the Iditarod Race.
Although she always used the Iditarod as a teaching tool, Ms. Reiter stepped it up after a 2012 Gilman travel grant allowed her to travel to the Wintergreen Lodge in Minnesota with Ms. Rizzuto to learn the art of mushing. They also traveled to Alaska to attend the Iditarod Winter Conference for Teachers and experience the start of the race. In 2014 Ms. Reiter served as the Iditarod Teacher on the Trail.