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A dogged dedication to innovative learning
By Lisa DiMartino / April 5, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...
Lincoln Central Elementary School third-grade teacher Jeff Drolet is using a $994 grant from our Spark Grants program to teach students a lesson about the power of teamwork. Conceived of and funded by philanthropists Letitia and John Carter, the program’s goal is to spark learning.

Drolet’s “I-Kid-Arod” initiative uses dogsled races to capture his students’ imagination. In the classroom, his third-graders are participating in their own Iditarod competition, working together to find the seven continents on a map, fill in a compass rose at the social studies checkpoint and demonstrate their math skills by explaining the commutative property at another station.

The highlight was the visit to school from competitive dogsled racer Becki Tucker and her Outlaw Ridge sled dogs. Students clamored for their turn to pet the dogs, which they had tracked during a 250-mile race in Maine.


“This project allows students access to a variety of experiences that extend the classroom far beyond the reach of our school building. They are learning how to work together cooperatively to achieve common goals as well as fostering effective communication among peers,” Drolet explains.

As a culminating project, the third-graders will move outside to complete a simulated "I-Kid-Arod" course designed to challenge their ability to apply all the knowledge they've learned. Riding modified tricycles, students will use musher commands to navigate, work collaboratively, and creatively problem solve.

“This initiative supports learning and teaching in my classroom because every student is actively engaged in their own learning and additionally responsible to take on the responsibility of teaching when they need to provide support to their team member or other teams in completing the time deduction challenges,” he says.

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