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A Unit Study on Antarctica

Here are many resources and activities for a unit study on Antarctica.  This can be a very hands-on, fun, and challenging study with very little effort.  There are many prepared plans and activities already on the internet.  This article pulls many of these resources together in one place.  Have fun!


Geography and Weather of Antarctica: http://ireland.iol.ie/south-aris/geogweat.htm
Live from Antarctica: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica/index.html
Zoom School’s Antarctica: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/school/Antarctica/
Antarctica ThinkQuest: http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5791/


Penguin Theme page: http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/CITE/penguins.htm


1. Take a virtual field trip to Antarctica: http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/vtour/
2. Study animals of the Antarctic: http://www.terraquest.com/va/science/science.html
3. At this site, http://www.yourexpedition.com/ed_site/curriculum.html there are some very good activities and lessons that you can download with adobe acrobat.  They are broken down for grades K through 6.
4. Pretend you are going on an expedition to Antarctica and do some of the following activities:
- Make a list of the kinds of clothing you would wear, keeping in mind the extremely cold temperatures and the wind.
- See if you have any of these items at home. If you do, try them on to see what it feels like to dress as an Antarctic explorer
- Ask someone you know who is knowledgeable about outdoor clothing—(a science teacher, physical education teacher, and/or sportswear salesperson)—to look at your list of clothing. Ask them if there is anything they might bring that is not included on your list. Make a list of those items
- Plan a trip to a local outdoor clothing/ sporting goods store or visit one online. Find out which fabrics and fillings are best for extremely cold temperatures and why. List some of those fabrics and their benefits
- Research what cross-country skiers would wear compared to downhill skiers. List some of the differences
- Find out about layering and keeping dry. Ask a salesperson or an adult to show you a "wicking" fabric. Explain below how "wicking" fabric works
5. How does nutrition differ in Antarctica.  Take a look at the activities at this link: http://jfg.girlscouts.org/Go/Travel/Antarctica/BAExpedition3.htm These go along with a girl scout patch regarding the Bancroft-Arnesen Expedition (that you can read about at www.yourexpedition.com ) but they are good activities to work on regarding nutrition in cold climates as well.
6. Doctors are few and far between in remote areas like Antarctica. Take a first-aid course. Contact your local American Red Cross to find out more about first-aid training and wilderness first-aid training.
7. Check out another modern expedition to Antarctica: http://www.discovery.com/exp/antarctica/antarctica.html
8. Take a virtual field trip of McMurdo Station in Antarctica: http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/vtour/mcmurdo/
9. Go through this website for learning to live at McMurdo Station in Antarctica: http://www.theice.org/mcmstay.html
10. This company offers trips to Antarctica.  Look over their site and see if this is what you expected from such a trip: http://www.atlastravelweb.com/antarctica.shtml
11. Study the conservation movement in Antarctica.  Did you know they had pollution and litter problems too? http://www.asoc.org/
12. Here are some frequently asked questions about working in Antarctica.  They would be useful for putting together a unit study. http://www.theice.org/faq.html
13. Study some maps of Antarctica: http://toltec.lib.utk.edu/~cic/antarc.htm
14. This site is both in French and English, reminding us that there are many countries that have stations in Antarctica: http://www.antarctica.org/
15. Here’s a site for how animals cope with the cold in Antarctica: http://octopus.gma.org/surfing/antarctica/index.html


A is for Antarctica, by Jonathan Chester. Tricycle Press. 1998.
Antarctica, by Helen Cowcher. Sunburst Publishing. Reprint edition (paperback), 1991.
The Heart of the Antarctic : Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909,
by Ernest Henry Shackleton. Caroll and Graff Pubishers. Reprint 1999.
Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing. 1995
Antarctica : The Last Continent (National Geographic Destinations), by Kim Heacox. National Geographic Society. 1999
Braving the Frozen Frontier: Women Working in Antarctica, by Rebecca L. Johnson, Lerner Publications Company. 1996
Polar Dreams, by Helen Thayer. Dell Publishing. 1993


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