Grade 7 Units - Literature - Black Star, Bright Dawn


Title:  Black Star, Bright Dawn (The Iditarod)                                                                                 

Curricular Area(s):  Language Arts                                                                                                    

Grade-Level Span:  7                                                                                                                         


BIG IDEA:  Challenging ourselves makes us stronger individuals.


ENDURING UNDERSTANDING: Creating and accomplishing goals and challenges helps us grow; physically, mentally and emotionally.


ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: What challenges can I accomplish to help me grow as a person? How can I succeed in my goals? Am I capable of accomplishing anything I put my mind to? What will help me make my goals? Will the environment help or hinder me accomplishing my goals?


ASSESSMENTS (Acceptable Evidence): Study Guides, Vocabulary, Reading Check Quizzes, Unit Test, Open-Ended Questions, Comprehension Packets, Place Mat, Musher Bio-Poem, Wolf Song Poem, Persuasive Essay


Technology Standards:

8.1: A2,7,10-12; B4,6


Common Core Standards:









Historical background on the Iditarod dog sled race (origin, existence)

Historical background on Alaska

Notes, class discussion, Internet Activity

Notes, Internet Activity

Focus Lessons:

Context Clues/Vocabulary

Plot Diagram

Conferencing (Revising /Editing)

Using Textual Support

Internet Searching

Computer Practice (using Word)


Worksheet practice, practice w/short story

one-on-one conference; discussion of good writing & writing that needs work practice (copy/paste, saving)

Talking Points: 

What is the dog sled race called The Iditarod?

Who are the mushers? How did the race begin? Why was Alaska chosen? What is involved in putting on this race every year? What process do mushers go through to enter the race? What are the rules of the race? How is Alaska the perfect place for this race? What Alaskan wildlife and terrain goes perfectly with a dog sled race in the

wilderness? What does Balto have to do with Alaska and the Iditarod? What do the native Alaskans have to endure by living in the wilds of Alaska?



Roundtable discussion

Class discussion



Vocabulary Study

Internet Activity

Iditarod Introduction Packet

Use dictionary and context clues to define

Google sites with pictures of Alaskan wildlife and lands. Search Copy/Paste Iditarod race rules and pictures

Read Packet, complete proper outline



Season of the Sled Dogs

Braving Alaska

View movie or media presentation, handouts on comprehension of material


Comprehension/Listening Packet

Comprehension/Listening Packet

TOOLS AND RESOURCES: novels, paper, chalkboard, LCD projector & screen, handouts, television & DVD player, Art cart


CREDITS: Sharon Carroll, Denise McGettigan