LET'S REALLY GO SOUTH
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.
3-2-1 Classroom Contact: Antarctica: Getting To The South Pole
Students will be able to:
- List problems associated with the use of latitude and longitude at
- List the differences between the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the
- Describe the problems associated with early exploration of Antarctica
and compare and contrast the Scott and the Amundsen Expeditions to the South
- Describe a characteristic of ice that allows it to be used to study
- one test tube
- one 500 ml. beaker
- 300 ml. of water
- one ice cube
- one Nerf® baseball set
- oaktag for 4 bases
- masking tape, for the Prime Meridian and the International Date Line
as well as the 24-time zones
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
·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.
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.)
video where music introduces animated section "North Pole-South Pole"
(right after spinning Earth ends).
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.)
at the animated section.
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.
through the section that compares the size of Antarctica to the USA and
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)
at Debra getting dressed for Antarctica.
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?
to the Shakelton supply hut.
at Shakelton expedition.
after "...they were forced to turn back." Ask the students: Why
were they not able to reach the South Pole? (Not enough supplies.)
with segment about Scott and Amundsen expeditions.
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.)
for the rest of the expedition.
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?
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
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
·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.)
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.
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.
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.
Technology Education (or Journalism):
Use the Internet (via NSF-Antarctica Project) to send questions to the scientists
about their research studies.
Prepare a brief video about any aspect of the history or current research
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.
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
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online