This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through the topic of the Polar Regions. It contains ideas for how to link science to the topic, tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge to support teachers in delivering the science objectives through this topic. Resources support the teaching of the science topics of adaptation, insulation, food chains, habitats, sound, light, water cycle and changing state. This enables teachers to choose which aspect of science they would like to teach within the overarching topic.
Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
Links and Resources
This video begins with an explanation of where Antarctica is, what the climate is like and what it takes to live there.It helps to illustrate the conditions in cold environments and how animals are adapted to live in such conditions. It demonstrates what humans need to do to be able to live at the South Pole. The teachers in the video also explore a science project that tests what effect the cold has on their bodies.
One of the most commonly talked about features of the Polar Regions are the differences in the animals seen there compared to the rest of the World. This resource creates opportunities for the children to learn about the strategies animals adopt to survive winter in temperate zones and about the adaptations exhibited by animals in the Polar Regions. Children compare these strategies and identify similarities and differences in the ways animals are adapted to survive throughout the winter. They then sort different animals according to whether they migrate, hibernate, store food or grow a thick coat in order to survive over winter. The final activity involves looking at two case studies on species that are adapted to cold environments, the pupils can then produce their own case study choosing from a given list of species.
In this activity students develop their understanding of simple food chains or webs and scientific vocabulary through making an Arctic life mobile. They will also be introduced to the work of marine scientist, Dr Ceri Lewis, who has worked in the Arctic investigating the impact of environmental change on this fragile ecosystem which they can then go on to research further either looking in more detail at the work of such scientists or look at the impact of man’s activities on the ecosystem of the Arctic regions.
In this resource pupils can investigate the insulating properties of materials and design suitable clothing for polar explorers and also consider how the adaptations of Arctic organisms help develop insulating materials. Other investigations linked to insulation include one based around ‘Blubber gloves ‘.
An obvious area to investigate if you are studying the Polar Regions is the ice / icebergs, this video demonstrates an experiment with ice which may be used when learning about changing state.
Different kinds of liquid are frozen and the results observed and discussed. Pre-boiled water results in a mostly clear ice, salt water a cloudy ice, lemonade an ice full of holes and coloured water turns into an ice block with all of the colour pushed to the centre. This demonstration could be re-created with children making predictions about what may happen when different liquids are frozen then comparing this to the results and giving explanations.
Following on from the Inuit throat singing this resource provides twenty activities which could then lead into investigations around sound especially with regards to vibrations and echoes. The activities investigate: how vibrations travel through different materials, making instrument on which the notes may be changed, creating animal noises using voices and instruments, muffling sound, amplifying sound, investigating rhythm and even making a speaker.