Resources and Activities from Polar Research Projects

Education and outreach are significant components of the International Polar Year as evidenced by the wealth of resources available for teachers and for informal educators working in science centers and museums. We’ve highlighted projects and programs that provide polar science resources for use in your classroom – in a lesson, unit, or polar festival.


International Polar Year (IPY)
The scientific program’s web site contains information about the six research areas of IPY, news and announcements, blogs, and resources for educators.

Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL)
ANDRILL is a multinational research project seeking to reconstruct Antarctica’s climate history by drilling rock cores. In Project Iceberg, ANDRILL’s education component, students and teachers can explore blogs, videos, photos, and postcards from a team of eight educators who worked with ANDRILL scientists. The web site has instructions and downloadable files from which students can create a “Flexhibit.” The exhibit material can be used by students to develop and host a science event for peers, families, or the public.

PolarTREC
PolarTREC is an educational research experience in which K-12 teachers participate in Arctic and Antarctic research expeditions. Multimedia resources include a photo gallery, podcasts, articles, and activities. PolarTREC teachers also host Live Jam IPY! events (field calls and Internet presentations).

Polar-Palooza
Polar-Palooza’s site contains videos, podcasts, soundscapes, and related resources about the poles and polar research.

Penguin Science
Penguin Science is a long-term study of Antarctic penguin populations and their response to climate change. The education program offers a variety of resources, including a nest check activity. Students follow six Adelie penguin families via daily pictures, weather reports, and collar-record information in their own field books.

EducaPoles
The educational site of the International Polar Foundation includes Flash animations, videos, picture galleries, quizzes, and other materials.

Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists
In honor of the International Polar Year, the Exploratorium gave polar scientists cameras and blogs, asking them to document their work. The result? An engaging, interactive site full of video, webcasts, articles, and images about polar research.

Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS)
The CReSIS web site includes education resources such as iceberg and glacier lessons and activities, professional development workshops, polar links, and a teacher listserv.

Polar Discovery
Explore the North Pole, the Arctic seafloor, Antarctica’s penguins and lava flows, and Greenland’s glaciers with the Polar Discovery site. On each expedition, photographer Chris Linder and a science writer documented the scientists, their research, the environment, and the logistics of the fieldwork. Each expedition includes photojournals, an in-depth essay, videos and sounds, and polar fun.

ARMADA Project
The ARMADA Project is a research experience for teachers. Some of the research expeditions are polar themed. The classroom activities section of the site includes lesson plans and demonstrations about sea level rise, icebergs, and sea ice.

The Antarctic Sun
The Antarctic Sun is the online “newspaper” of the U.S. Antarctic Program. Though not a site with lesson plans and traditional educational resources, the Antarctic Sun web site is full of news and interesting information about Antarctica and its researchers.


This article was written by Jessica Fries-Gaither. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Jessica at beyondpenguins@msteacher.org.

Copyright November 2008 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

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