For the past few months our colleagues in Polar Educators International (PEI) have been contributing helpful resources that scientists can use in classrooms and other venues when sharing infomration about their Antarctic research. This month PEI is hosting their International Conference in Rovereto, Italy so we thought it would be a good time to give them a break and tell you more about PEI.
PEI is a vibrant network promoting polar education and research to a global community. By fostering dialogue and collaboration between educators and researchers, PEI aims to highlight and share the global relevance of the polar regions with the broader community.
PEI is looking for scientists to work with, so take a few minutes and learn more about this important partner. http://www.polareducator.org
Contributed by Julia Dooley, MEd., Artist, and Teacher of the Gifted and Talented
Data from ice and sediment cores provide climatic and geologic history. The science of telling the story of time through sediment and ice coring might not seem that complicated, but it can be very confusing to student, and non-scientific audiences. Even explaining that uppermost layers tell the most recent history, and deeper layers recording older periods, does not go far enough to clarify concepts. Since it is impossible to take field trips to the polar ice sheets, or in ocean drill ships, I developed the Life Cores Sci-Art activity.
This activity has students creating a model core of a period of time in their current activities. Students are given plastic tubes 2’ long and 2” in diameter and add a daily layer of materials from their everyday life, for a set period of time. Students choose materials important to them personally, and keep journals, reflecting on items’ significance, and/or relationship to life and world events. Students use core logging sheets to make observations of each others’ life cores, noting layer colors, textures and deposition rates as some of the characteristics researchers use in ice and sediment core interpretation.
The passage of time, as recorded with recognizable, personal indicators, allows for better understanding of the question, How do know what we know from coring?
How/when to use it: This activity works best to introduce coring. If time allows, have students make their own Life Cores in advance and bring to a workshop, or class. You may also construct your own core as a way of introducing yourself, as well as the science. Students love to hear your personal stories!- read more
Remotely-operated, underwater vehicles are complementing ship based science to aid long-term ocean exploration over a wide range of temporal and spacial-scales. These instruments survey regions and collect information by providing data and high definition visualizations of areas hard-to-explore by humans. Given the importance of the ocean in human history and its role in regulating climate, utilizing technology has become indispensable in providing valuable information to solve some of the most complex environmental issues around the world.
This activity involves building small Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) from Sea Perch kits, produced and distributed by the Office of Naval Research. The activity describes the differences between an ROV and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and explains the scientific applications of each. This link also has a brief background on the use of underwater vehicles in Antarctica.- read more
Following in the footsteps of the great Antarctic explorers, The History of Antarctic Exploration 1810 - 1917 is a timeline of the discovery of the continent. Hurtigruten (a Polar Tourism company) have taken an in-depth look at the Golden Age of Antarctic Exploration and the heroic explorers who strived to be the first to reach the South Pole. This in-depth content piece lets the reader explore the discovery of the Antarctic coast at their own pace. This content was created to celebrate the epic expeditions of ground-breaking explorers Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson, and encourage readers to learn more about them.
With a long history sailing polar waters, Hurtigruten launched their first voyage to Antarctica in 2002. Their ship the MS Fram is named after the original Fram used by Roald Amundsen on his successful journey to be the first to reach the South Pole.
Glacier Dynamics Activities:
As scientists in any number of fields of research in Antarctica it is likely you have been asked to speak to a variety of audiences about your work and often about Antarctica itself. For many groups their knowledge of this icy continent is limited.
Depending on where they are located they may have limited knowledge of ice and snow and the dynamics of glaciers.
Whether you have 15 minutes or 45 minutes the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, (CRESIS), has developed a number of activities on Glacier Dynamics in there extensive curriculum, Ice Ice Baby! These hands-on activities utilize easy to obtain items to allow your audience to participate in their own understanding of glaciology.
If you are fortunate to have an ongoing relationship with an audience or group of students the 9 activities in Glacier Dynamics get progressively more advanced giving you a chance to increase your audiences understanding.
Especially helpful are the lesson plans, which can be left with a classroom teacher for their continued use with their students. They contain a basic background, directions, discussion questions, a materials list, vocabulary list, evaluation tools and links to related activities within the Ice Ice Baby! curriculum.
Check out the first lesson, How do snowflakes become ice without melting? You don’t even need snow. All you need is a few marshmallows!- read more
Explore a wide range of objects from Antarctica in the new short films from the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI). Designed for use in a classroom with primary age (7-11 year olds) students, though also accessible to older children, each film follows a theme: food, transport, navigation, science or clothing. As well as featuring beautiful photography and detailed shots of objects from the SPRI collection, each film is introduced by experts on the theme and an expert from the Polar Museum at SPRI.
As well as the films themselves, you can download accompanying teacher packs, brimming with brilliant ideas and resources to get your students thinking in new ways across a range of subjects areas, and high resolution images of the objects for use in the classroom.
Visit http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/museum/resources/ for more information.- read more
Contributed by: Louise Huffman, Director of Education and Outreach for the US Ice Drilling Program Office, Dartmouth College
When presenting to a large audience, or if you are looking for an easy hands-on activity to do with a classroom, this activity works well.
It is a common misconception with non-science audiences regardless of age, that ALL melting ice will raise sea level. This is a simple demonstration that can be used in almost any venue with almost any audience to demonstrate the difference between melting land-based ice (glaciers, ice sheets, etc.) and floating ice (sea ice, ice bergs, etc.). Audiences will consider how melting ice affects sea level by observing two models that are identical except for one factor: one will have ice on “land” and the other will have ice in the “sea.” Directions for using the activity as a demonstration can be found on the ANDRILL website.
If you have the opportunity to visit a classroom, this can easily become a hands-on activity that the students create by using two smaller sandwich-sized clear containers for each group of four students following the same directions in the link. Set-up this demo at the beginning of your presentation, have the audience predict the answer to the questions (how will melting land-based/floating ice affect sea level? Raise it? Lower it? Stay the same?) and then revisit the models at the end of your presentation to discuss the results.
Lessons learned from less-than-successful demos:
If you have any questions, please contact Louise Huffman.- read more
Looking for a great resource to help young people learn about the Antarctic Treaty? “Celebrating Antarctica - A Treaty Protecting a Continent”, authored by Julie Hambrook Berkman and Allen Pope, presents the Antarctic Treaty in a book illustrated by schoolchildren from around the world. The book has been produced as a pdf in over 19 languages and can be downloaded for free at http://celebratingantarctica.tumblr.com.- read more
The ice held in the Antarctic Ice Sheet has the potential to cause significant changes in sea level in the future, which will affect many people around the world. As a result, it is important that people have an awareness of the impact of a changing climate on the world’s ice sheets, but this complex system is difficult to understand and predict. Scientists and games developers have produced a free-to-use interactive game, “Ice Flows”, to help demonstrate how the Antarctic Ice Sheet responds to climate change in an accessible way to children and game players of all ages.
The game is built on a simple representation of how ice flows in Antarctica and how it responds to changes in the environment - through changes in snowfall and ocean temperature. It allows players to impose climatic changes to control the extent of the ice sheet to guide penguins to fish; if they get it wrong, the penguin may meet its doom in the jaws of a leopard seal. The aim is to promote understanding of the complexity of the ice sheet system by enabling the player to carry out their own ice sheet model experiments, much like the scientists working on the research. The game has a number of levels representing how different parts of the Antarctic will respond to climate change.
- read more