The Topic:
Polar Regions

Easier - The polar regions are the icy areas around the North and South Pole. The Arctic and Antarctic are in the polar regions. Polar bears, penguins, seals, whales, and walrus are a few of the wildlife that live in these very cold regions.
 
Harder - The cold polar regions are found on the far south and north ends of the globe. During the winter the sun never rises and the during the summer the sun never sets. When the sun does shine, it is very weak. The weather is very cold year around. The polar regions were the last places on Earth to be explored. There is much debate over the valuable oil and mineral resources available in the polar regions.
 
The southern polar region is called Antarctica. This ice-covered continent is larger than the United States and is surrounded by ice and water. It contains a 16,000 foot mountain. Even in the summer, it rarely gets above freezing. Although it is dry, cold, and very windy, scientists and visitors live here. An international treaty allows people of many nations to live together.
 
The northern polar region is called the Arctic. The Arctic is a huge ocean surrounded by land. Most of the ocean is frozen, but there are areas where the Inuit people live. The Arctic fringe is tundra covered with low grass plains.
 
Keep in mind that although it's cold in both the Arctic and Antarctic, there are many differences. For example, the animal and sea life differ. Polar bears are found in the Arctic, while penguins are found in the Antarctic.
  
Arctic Studies Center
http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/
This website is dedicated to the study of the people who live in the Arctic region including their culture and history. It also contains information about the environment including the plant and animal life of the area.
 
Iridium IceTrek
http://www.icetrek.com/
This website follows a group of explorers who trekked to the North and South Pole. Users can follow journals, phone call logs, photos, maps, and other artifacts and documents from their trip. The website also contains lots of activities.
Other Virtual Tour Websites:
2) A Tourist Expedition of Antarctica http://www.leeandkristin.net/Antarctica/Story.html
3) Virtual Antarctica: TerraQuest http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~kpt/terraquest/va
4) Virtual Tour: Antarctica http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/vtour/
5) Welcome to the Ice http://www.theice.org/
 
Secrets of the Ice: An Antarctic Expedition
http://www.secretsoftheice.org/
This museum-sponsored website contains sections titled explore Antarctica, ice core research, scientific expedition, expedition headquarters, and learning resources. In this website users will learn more about the Antarctica's environment and the research being conducted there. Try three fun activities: dressing for the weather, interpreting ice core data, and calculating sea level rise.
 
Zoom School Antarctica
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/school/Antarctica/
This great site for children provides lots of information about Antarctica including animals, science basics, explorers, maps, snow and cold information, dinosaur information, and meteorites. You'll also find a quiz and jokes.
Other Good Informational Resources for Students:
2) Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/shackleton
 
Visit several of the Polar Region websites, then select and complete one or more of these activities.
 
Follow an Antarctic Voyage. Read current reports from the TEA project (http://www.glacier.rice.edu/misc/newsfrontpage.html). Explore other recent Antarctic Adventures (http://www.glacier.rice.edu/misc/sites_polelife.html).
 
Survive at the Poles. Could you survive in Antarctica? Take the Weather Quiz (http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/quiz.shtml). Plan the food you would need to survive (http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica fact file/science/food.htm). Create a plan for your own "armchair" expedition.
 
Write a Newspaper. Read an issue of (1) The Antarctic Sun (http://www.polar.org/antsun/), (2) The New South Pole Times (http://205.174.118.254/nspt/home.htm), and (3) The Antarctic (http://www.usatoday.com/weather/antarc/acoldsci.htm) to learn about what's happening in the Antarctic right now. Take the most important events from the past few issues and create your own Antarctic newsletter. Be sure to check out their cartoons and photos!
 
Create a Trivia Game. Use the following trivia sites: (1) Did You Know (http://www.theice.org/didyouknow.html) and (2) IceTrek (http://www.adventure-network.com/subpage.asp?navid=3&id=21). Create a polar regions game.
  
Dress for the Poles. What would you wear for a trip to the poles? Try the Dressing for the Weather (http://www.secretsoftheice.org/explore/dress.html) activity. Create a life-sized poster showing what you would wear to the poles and why.
 
Be a Weather Watcher. Check out the (1) Understanding Antarctic Weather (http://www.usatoday.com/weather/antarc/aweath0.htm) and (2) Antarctic Weather (http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/weather/). Look at the (3) Mawson Station Webcam, Antarctica (http://www.aad.gov.au/stations/mawson/video.asp) to see a recent photo. Record the weather where you live and compare it to the weather in Antarctica. What's the difference?
 
Write an Adventure. Use the photos from the (1) IceTrek Gallery (http://www.icetrek.org/gallery/Antarctica/) and (2) Images of Antarctica (http://www.nsf.gov/od/opp/antarct/imageset/start.htm) in a short story about a polar adventure. Be sure to use factual information in your story including weather, climate, and other information. Read some frequently asked questions about (3) life in Antarctica (http://www.theice.org/faq.html). Check out a student project (4) (http://www.sonic.net/~rickm/emia/christina/index.html).
 
Make a Map. Explore the (1) Maps of Polar Regions and Oceans (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/Libs/PCL/Map_collection/polar.html), (2) Ocean Floor Map (http://www.go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/oceans.htm), and (3) Virtual Antarctica (http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~kpt/terraquest/va). Check out the interactive map of (4) Palmer Station (http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica2/main/s_index.html). Create your own map or print out a map outline (http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica2/main/t_guide/blackline_2.html). Include important sites and expeditions on your map. Or, create a wall mural of Antarctica.
 
Explore an Explorer. Read each of the (1) Arctic Episodes (http://www.accessexcellence.org/arc/) and learn what it was like to on an early Arctic explorer. Learn about (2) Richard E. Byrd (http://www.south-pole.com/p0000107.htm). Then, learn about other polar explorers at (3) Antarctic Explorers (http://www.south-pole.com/homepage.html) and (4) Zoom (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/explorers/antarctica.shtml). Who do you think has made the biggest contribution to polar exploration? Why?
 
Plan a Trip. You've just won the lottery. Plan a trip to Antarctica. Learn about Antarctica at Lonely Planet (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/antarctica/antarctica/). Check out what the adventure companies offer for trips. Which would you choose? Why? Try AdventurQuest.com.
 
Be a Historian. Learn about the history of the Antarctic. Create a timeline. Use the following website for ideas: Antarctic History (http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/history/). Choose an era in Antarctica history. Compare your era with the others.
 
Ask an Expert. Create a concept map showing what you've learned about the polar regions. Use the Ask Jack page (http://www.usatoday.com/weather/askjack/wapolar.htm) to ask a question about Antarctica.
 
Read a Wind Chill Table. Try the Wind Chill Table
(http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/TM/WS_anarctica_windchill.shtml) activity.
 
Protect the Poles. Explore issues related to the polar regions. For example, you might focus on the ecology (http://www.worldiq.com/definition/Ecology_of_Antarctica)of the region. Create a "Protect the Poles" poster that focuses on an issue such as acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, mining, wildlife protection, or other topics.
 
Be a Wildlife Watcher. Learn about the wildlife of Antarctica at (1) Antarctica (http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/antarctica/wildlife.shtml) and (2) British Anarctica Survey (http://antarctica.ac.uk/About_Antarctica/wildlife/index.html). Choose a particular type of wildlife such as (3) penguins (http://42explore.ocm/penguin.htm), seals, birds, or whales to explore.
 
Write a Riddle. Read the Antarctica Jokes (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/school/Antarctica/Jokes.shtml) and take the Antarctica Quiz (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/school/Antarctica/quiz), both from Enchanted Learning. Write your own riddle and create a bulletin board of jokes. Use facts in your riddles.
 
Complete a Polar Region WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one of the following webquest sites:
1) A Month in Antarctica http://www.cap.nsw.edu.au/bb_site_intro/stage3_modules/antarctica . . .
2) Antarctica Exploration http://users.bigpond.net.au/turtle/Antarctica/WebQuest%20Antarctica.htm
3) Can We Live Anywhere on Earth? Should We?
http://students.itec.sfsu.edu/itec815_f99/esund_dguenther/index.html
4) Greetings from Antarctica by John Burke (Grade 6-8) http://spidey.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch529/jburke/greetings/arcintro.html
5) Penguin WebQuest http://coe.west.asu.edu/students/phanover/penguin_webquest.htm
6) Polar Animals (Grade 2) http://www.ga.unc.edu/NCTA/NCTA/WebQuest/Cotswold/WebQuest/Index3.html
7) Polar Bear (Grade 1) http://starbus.com/polarbear/
8) Polar Ice Caps http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/EDTEC596/Units/Pole/main.html
9) Polar Regions WebQuest http://www.hobart.k12.in.us/finalwq/Intro.html
10) Race to the South Pole http://www.monterey.k12.ca.us/~snlornzo/quests/antarctica.html
 
Websites By Kids For Kids
Arctic Animals Home (1998 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/3500/
The Arctic has many unique animals. This site has stories, pictures, interesting facts, and some fun activities.
 
Antarctica: The Continent of Wonder (ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/28779/
This Thinkquest project provides basics factual information about Antarctica.
 
Arctic: The White Cap of Earth (ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/27518/
This student project explores the North Pole region.
 
Cool Cold Creatures (ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J003310/coolcoldcreatu/
This Thinkquest junior project explores the mammals, birds, and fish of the cold regions of the world.
 
Polar Bears (ThinkQuest Junior)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J001437/
Learn about polar bears.
 
Welcome to Antarctica (ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/26442/
This student project focuses on all aspects of Antarctica.
 
More Polar Regions Websites
Antarctic Philatelic Home Page
http://www.south-pole.com/homepage.html
This website provides excellent historical information about explorations to Antarctic. It also provides information about historic stamps related to these expeditions.
 
The Antarctic Sun
http://www.polar.org/antsun/
This online newsletter contains interesting insights into the daily life of people in Antarctica.
 
Antarctica Online
http://www.antdiv.gov.au/
Explore images, expedition information, and other information from the Australian Antarctic Division.
 
Archaeology of the Tundra and Arctic Alaska at Prehistory of Alaska, National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/akso/akarc/arctic.htm
This article summarizes the prehistoric tundra and arctic portion of Alaska.
 
Arctic Exploration Online
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/arctic/
Follow a coast guard ice breaker as it travels to the Arctic. Learn about the people and places along the Alaskan coast on the way to the Arctic.
 
Circle
http://arcticcircle.uconn.edu/ArcticCircle/
This website focuses on three themes that are crucial to the future of the people, land, and waters of the Arctic and Subarctic region: natural resources, history and culture; social equity and environmental justice.
 
Glacier
http://www.glacier.rice.edu/
This project contains an introduction to Antarctica including an overview, scientific data, history, and glossary information. The expedition section discusses what it would be like to live and work in Antarctica. The weather section contains lots of information about meteorology including jobs, tools, and the weather of Antarctica. The ice section explores questions related to ice formation and glaciers. The ocean section explores the topic of oceanography and specific information about the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. Finally, the site provides news on current opportunities and projects.
 
The Ice
http://www.io.com/~pml/
Find out about McMurdo Station, Palmer Station, South Pole Station, and other resources and places.
 
Live from Antarctica 2
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica2/index.html
The is NASA sponsored site contains information and resources for students and teachers. This project was originally developed in 1996 and was updated in 1997-1998. Students can explore biographies and field journals of various members of an expedition including an ornithologist, oceanographer, environmental physiologist and other researchers. Explore activities and student projects.
 
Lonely Planet: Destination Antarctica
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/Antarctica/Antarctica/
Explore information about travel in Antarctica.
 
NSF - Polar Research
http://www.nsf.gov/home/polar/
This website provides information about the polar research done by the National Science Foundation.
 
Sea Ice
http://www.awi-bremerhaven.de/Eistour/index-e.html
Explore life on sea ice of Antarctica.
 
Shackleton's Antarctic Odyssey at Nova Online
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/shackleton/
NOVA journeyed into ice-choked Antarctic waters and onto the shores of rugged Elephant and South Georgia Islands following the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This legendary explorer's 1914-1916 Endurance expedition is one of the greatest survival stories of all time.
 
The Southern Ocean
http://website.lineone.net/~dave_reay/
This resource provides information about the southern ocean including the islands, high seas, seals, penguins, and science of the area.
 
Underwater Field Guide
http://scilib.ucsd.edu/sio/nsf/fguide/index.html
Explore the sea life of Ross Island and McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.
 
USA Today: Cold Science
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/antarc/acoldsci.htm
Learn about Antarctica weather and travel. Explore a map and photo gallery. Use the "Ask Jack" section to ask a question.
 
Your Expedition
http://yourexpedition.com/education_site/ednew.html
This website provides lots of polar region resources.
 
Warnings from the Ice at Nova Online
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/warnings/
Explore how Antarctica's ice has preserved the past -- from Chernobyl to the little ice age -- going back hundreds of thousands of years, and then see how the world's coastlines would recede if some or all of this ice were to melt. Also check out scores of astonishing facts about the white continent, and what it's like to live and work there.
 
Websites for Teachers
Antarctica Activities
http://www.nwf.org/atracks/current/archives/antarctica/anactivity.cfm
Explore a series of activities on Antarctica including discussions, demonstrations, mapping, and a webquest.
 
Antarctica and Penguin Activities
http://www.abcteach.com/directory/theme_units/habitats/antarctica
Great resources for young students.
 
Antarctic Marine Ecosystem (Grades 7-9)
http://www.botos.com/marine/antarctic01.html
This lesson explores the marine ecology of Antarctic.
 
Antarctica: Unit Plan (Grades 6-8)
http://www.english.unitecnology.ac.nz/resources/units/Antarctica/home.html
Students explore and then take part in discussions on issues facing Antarctica, expressing their own opinion and accepting diverse opinions.
 
Flags of Antarctica
http://www.thursdaysclassroom.com/23sep99/teach8.html
In this lesson, students explore the many countries who have flags that fly over Antarctica.
 
Live from Antarctica
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica2/main/t_guide/index.html
This teacher guide provides activities related to Antarctica.
 
Investigation of Insulation
http://205.174.118.254/nspt/teach/linsul01.htm
Explore this lesson on cold and insulation. What materials offer the best protection against the cold?
 
Antarctica
http://www.gma.org/surfing/Antarctica/
This site provides a series of lessons on topics related to Antarctica including penguin adaptation, blubber glove, changes in the Antarctic ice sheet, chick die-off, coping with the cold, creating plankton, and salt concentration.
 
South Pole Adventure Web Page
http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/southpole.edu
Sponsored by The Center of Astrophysical Research in Antarctica, the site looks at experiments to perform at the South pole, travelogues, webcams and do-it-yourself activities.
 
Take a Virtual Trip Antarctica
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson042.shtml
Explore fifteen Antarctica teaching activities across the grades and across the curriculum.
 
TEA: Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic
http://tea.rice.edu/
This website lists opportunities to join projects and explore polar region information resources. The activities section links to an excellent list of units, lessons, and student project ideas.
 
Virtual Field Trip to Antarctica
http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons98/Antarctica.html
Explore this great unit Antarctica. The website contains lots of activities and resources for students.
 
arctic
Antarctica
polar
ice
snow
continent
explorer
'White Continent'
cold
global warming
polar bear
Ernest Shackleton
weather
glacier
penguin
seal
South pole
North pole
walrus
iceberg
ocean
shark
freeze
ice cap
snow blindness
frostbite
snomobile
whale
reindeer
'snocat'
continuous daylight
continuous darkness
Artic Circle
tree line
tundra
permafrost
ice-covered sea
ice-covered continent
fur
fish
wind
caribou
 
  
 
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 01/01. Updated by the King Family, 9/04.