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LET'S REALLY GO SOUTH
Grades 8-12

Overview

There is much misunderstanding about the conditions found at the South Pole and Antarctica. Students have difficulty understanding the climate and geography of the region, in addition to the history of its exploration.
ITV Series
3-2-1 Classroom Contact: Antarctica: Getting To The South Pole (#18)

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:

Materials
Per Group
(3 students)
Per Class

Pre-Viewing Activities
South Pole Baseball will introduce the students to the concepts of latitude and longitude and the fact that these location lines are not as useful at the poles as they are at lower latitudes.

Set up a baseball field in your classroom. The pitcher's mound will be the South Pole. The International Date Line will run from the pitcher's mound to home plate. The Prime Meridian will run from the pitcher's mound to second base. Set the other bases in the appropriate places.

The following events will take place as the students play a few innings of South Pole Baseball:

·A player will take 6 hours (6 time zones) to run to 1st base; 12 hours to run to 2nd; 18 to run to 3rd; and one day (24 time zones) to run a home run.

·A right-handed hitter hitting the ball to left field will hit the ball into yesterday and the fielder's throw to home or first base will be a throw into tomorrow, which will take from 6 to 18 hours to get there.

·Any player who hits a home run will have to run around the world.

·Anytime the pitcher is on the mound, he will always the throwing the ball north, no matter what direction he throws the ball.

Say: Let's play South Pole Baseball and as each play is completed, we'll stop and decide what really happened as the ball was pitched, hit and thrown.

Play a few innings of baseball; stop and have the students explain what happened during each play of the game.

Focus Viewing
To give the students a specific responsibility while viewing, they will be required to compare and contrast the Earth's Arctic and Antarctic regions by listing 3 facts about the differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic and 3 facts about what they have in common with each other. (These can be in chart form.)

Viewing Activities
PLAY
video where music introduces animated section "North Pole-South Pole" (right after spinning Earth ends).

PAUSE
after the first items are listed for the Arctic. Ask: What are some things found in the Arctic? (Polar bears, igloos, seals, and walruses.) Which of these do you think will also be found in the Antarctic? How do you think these animals live in an area where it is so cold that very few plants can grow? (The animals eat sea life, mosses and lichens, and they eat each other.)

RESUME
at the animated section.

PAUSE
at the end of animated section, after the wingless fly. Tell the students: Write down a list of differences and similarities. Then, have students read one item each from their lists.

RESUME
through the section that compares the size of Antarctica to the USA and Mexico.

PAUSE
after the overlay shows Mexico and USA are same size as Antarctica. Ask: Does anybody know how many square miles that is? (5.5 million square miles)

RESUME
at Debra getting dressed for Antarctica.

PAUSE
after she is dressed. Say: Please list everything you put on when you go outside for a long time in the winter: for work, to ski or sled ride, or for skating. Ask: Why do we dress in layers? Why is her coat orange? Why does she need sun goggles?

FAST FORWARD
to the Shakelton supply hut.

RESUME
at Shakelton expedition.

PAUSE
after "...they were forced to turn back." Ask the students: Why were they not able to reach the South Pole? (Not enough supplies.)

RESUME
with segment about Scott and Amundsen expeditions.

PAUSE
after their preparations are discussed. Ask: What is more important in a project like this, proven technology that you can use very well or new 'state-of-the-art' equipment that has never been used in Antarctica and your men are not fully trained to use? (Proven items that you can use well.)

RESUME
for the rest of the expedition.

PAUSE
after "...they died less than eleven miles from a supply station." Ask: What do you think Scott did wrong? (Not enough food, too slow, wrong types of equipment.) How would you change things so that he and his men could have made it back?

At this point, tell the students: Prepare a list of 10 items that they would need to have with them to be able to make it to the South Pole and back to base. You have 5 men and you will need 400 pounds of food per person if you can average 30 miles per day. Be sure to include the 10 most important things you will need. (Food, fuel, food for dogs, maps, 2-way radios, pots and pans, tents, dogs and sleds, etc.)

After this discussion, ask: Why did these men go to the pole? What did they do when they got there? Was it a waste of time?
Post-Viewing Activities
Ask students: Why do people go to the pole today? What do they hope to learn? Why is the South Pole a unique scientific research location on Earth? What can we learn by studying the ancient ice found at the South Pole?

Say: Please form into your groups of three. You will now attempt to prove that ice is able to hold trapped air and that air can be collected for study.

The hands-on activity allows students to collect air from ice in a test tube that has been filled with water and ice and inverted in a beaker of water. Air from melted ice will collect at the top of the test tube. Have students estimate the amount of air in a specific volume of ice. Have them compare the formation of the ice you used to the ice found at the South Pole (ie. ice made in an ice tray or an ice machine to ice made from compressed snow).

·Give each group one test tube, a container of water and enough crushed ice to fill the test tube.

·Fill the test tube with ice.

·Add enough water to fill the test tube to the rim.

·Hold thumb over the end of the test tube to prevent air from entering and invert while placing the open end down into the beaker of water.

·Check to see if any air has entered the test tube. Mark the amount of any air that has entered the test tube.

·Allow all of the ice to melt.

·Mark the amount of air now in the test tube.

Ask: What is a conclusion that can be made about the air content of ice? (Ice contains trapped air.) If you have a sample of ice that formed from the compression of snow that fell to earth 100,000 years ago, what can you state about the air sample you have at the top of your test tube? (The air is 100,000 years old.)

Action Plan
1
Send for catalogs from Cabella, Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean to prepare a study area on various types of cold weather clothing and survival gear and the prices of the types recommended for temperature zones.

2
Contact NASA and NOAA for information on survival needs for space and the moon and for underwater exploration. Prepare drawings or models of the equipment needed to survive in these environments. List what the major problems are for each environment.

3
Use the Weather Channel and the nearest US Weather Bureau Station to gather data about the climate of your city and of Antarctica to produce a wall-sized chart that compares the climates of these two areas.


Extensions
1
Technology Education (or Journalism):
Use the Internet (via NSF-Antarctica Project) to send questions to the scientists about their research studies.

2
Social Studies:
Prepare a brief video about any aspect of the history or current research about Antarctica.

3
Communications (or Language Arts):
Prepare a television commercial that Amundsen and/or Scott may have run to recruit men or to raise funds for their expedition.

4
Science:
Have students do the 'cut a block of ice in half, but it stays in one piece' demonstration and have them explain what really happens.

·Wrap a thin wire around a large block of ice. Suspend it from a 2 x 4 above a large bucket. Check it every half hour. The wire will cut through the ice and will refreeze so that it returns to one solid block of ice.

Master Teacher: Kenneth J. Harasty


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