Exploration 11-19

This is a list of resources specifically selected to support the Polar Explorer Programme.

Links and Resources

Arctic Expedition Special

In this podcast from the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) Planet Earth Online collection, Richard Hollingham reports from an unusual and somewhat cold location - onboard the British Antarctic Survey's RRS James Clark Ross which was stuck in the ice for two weeks 1000 kilometres from the North Pole.

He talks to researchers on the ship about their work, finds out exactly how dangerous polar bears can be and hears what it's like to dive in freezing cold waters.

He also learns that the Arctic isn't the desolate, barren place often imagined. In fact it is full of life. Not only large animals such as bears, seals and gulls, but also algae and microorganisms that literally keep our planet alive.

publication year
2010 to 2019

1 file

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Let Sleeping Bags Lie

How good does your sleeping bag need to be for the arctic?    Students investigate heat transfer and the thermal insulation properties of sleeping bags and


* Consider the requirements for different categories of sleeping bags.
* Measure the volume of air trapped in a number of materials used for sleeping bag fillings.
* Test the 'breathability' of cover fabrics.
* Test the thermal insulation properties of fillings.
* Test the effect of washing on the properties of the materials.
* Test the elasticity of the materials used.
* Investigate the factors affecting the stable temperature inside a sleeping bag in use.

Detailed teacher guidance and student activity sheets are provided in the materials

publication year
1990 - 1999

1 file

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Importance of exploration

The Northern Lights have been the subject of wonder for millennia.  In this film, physicist Melanie Windridge explores the arctic in her search for the aurora borealis, or Nothern Lights.  She briefly explains how the Northern Lights are formed and the links between science and exploration.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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An in-depth introduction to the themes of extreme environments and how science is conducted in remote regions.

The enquiry-based resources includes activities about about current research on snow and ice extent, ocean currents, ocean acidification and marine biology.  It incorporates the scientists' experiences and research, and includes structured lesson plans, activity and experiment sheets, an interactive Media Player with videos and images from the expeditions, along with posters and other related resources.

Curriculum links include: biodiversity, climate change, ecology, ecosystems, environmental chemistry.    

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These lesson plans and accompanying activities are designed to introduce students to what it is like to be an ocean explorer.

Each lesson is designed around a ‘dive’ to investigate a particular science topic. These include identification, classification, food webs and symbiosis, adaptation and human impacts on the environment. The enquiry-based resources incorporate the scientists’ experiences and research, and enable students to explore marine life on the reef and the threats facing it.  In the final lesson, teams create an expedition report to communicate their findings to a wider audience.

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Ways of Looking At The World

This film, from Twig World, explores some of the many ways to explore the Earth and its physical and 'human' features.

The key points made in the film are:

•Maps have been used by man throughout history to explain and navigate the world.
•Traditionally, maps are two-dimensional drawings that use scale to map the landscape.
•Aerial photography and satellite imagery allow us to view the world in a new way.
•We can use sonar technology to discover the topography of the bottom of the sea

publication year
2010 to 2019

8 files

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The Voyages

This video clip provides a general introduction to the voyage of The Noorderlicht to Svalbard and to the Cape Farewell scientists Simon, Val and Sarah. The scientists discuss their work with two teachers, Mike and Subathra.

The presentation called Setting the Scene complements the clip by providing a map of the Arctic, a plot of ocean temperatures in the region together with two images of The Noorderlicht at sea. This helps to set the context for the series of activities.

publication year
2010 to 2019

1 file

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Arctic Survey: The Navigation Toolkit

This toolkit explores the navigational aspects of an Arctic Survey expedition, including questions surrounding cartography and Global Positioning (GPS) systems.

The toolkit can be download as a whole or as individual components.

The individual components are:
• Finding your way around the Arctic - background article
• Mapping the Arctic with mathematics - worksheet and worksheet with guidance notes
• Finding your way around the Arctic using GPS - worksheet and worksheet with guidance notes.

publication year
2000 - 2009

6 files

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Dangerous Cold

In this activity students consider the questions:

• How does heat energy move around?
• How can we model the flow of energy and changes in temperature?
• What can be done to prevent hypothermia?
• Why do we need to try so hard to stay at the right temperature?

In order to survive and be comfortable in hot or cold environments, humans (and all animals) need to control the amount of heat energy they gain or lose.

To understand this process more fully, it is important to understand the concepts and interrelationship of heat, temperature and thermal equilibrium.

publication year
2010 to 2019

4 files

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Concept Cartoons: Change of State and Insulation

This concept cartoon explores student's ideas about heat and insulation. A common misconception is that some materials have the property of making things warm. In this case because we have put coats on to keep warm there is a tendency to believe that the coat will also make the snowman warm so that it will melt quickly. In fact the coat acts as an insulator, reducing the movement of energy in either direction.

publication year
2000 - 2009

3 files

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The Polar Explorer Cookbook

This resource provides five activities which support learning about food, diet, digestion and food preparation and preservation all set in the context of Polar Exploration. Each activity has a context that links it to a person working in the field, which provides a context for the learning.

Activities include: planning meals for individuals working in the Polar Regions, comparing historical and modern day recipes for people living and working in the Antarctic, investigating the best way to preserve food and finding out how food is stored on research stations. Each activity is linked to one or more recipes that might be eaten by people living in the Polar Regions. So there are lots of opportunities for researching, preparing and tasting different ‘Polar Explorer’ foods!

publication year
2010 to 2019

6 files

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