Now that winter is upon us, are you considering a topic exploring the triumphs and tragedies of the great Polar Explorers of the past? If so, LGfL’s Polar Exploration in the Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery is a comprehensive and unique cross-curricular resource tracing the Great Explorers’ endeavours from the first half of the 20th century.
The LGfL resources were written in partnership with Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University (SPRI – a centre of world excellence in the study of the polar regions). The online portal features insights into the epic adventures undertaken by British polar explorers through SPRI unique collection of artefacts, journals, paintings, photographs, clothing equipment and maps which document the evolution of different approaches to polar exploration.
The resource features lesson plans and resources which have been devised by experienced Primary and Secondary teachers, offering a wide range of ideas and activities to incorporate the learning resource in to your teaching. Do you want to learn about a school’s recent experience of using the resource? Then watch the case study from Exning Primary School case study by following the link here. You can learn more about the schools wider approach to using technology to maximise learning from here too via www.casestudies.lgfl.net.
The Terra Nova expedition is perhaps the most famous, where Captain Scott not only failed to reach the South Pole before his rival Amundsen, but died on the treacherous journey home. Through this story you can compare Robert Scott’s survival kit with a modern-day explorer and perhaps gain a new-found respect for the conditions and equipment these pioneers had to endure.
The Endurance remains one of the all-time great survival stories where Shackleton and his crew became stranded on ice and watched their precious ship become crushed over several months. In a heroic feat of survival, all crew members survived even though their path to safety took them over a year across cruel conditions both at land and sea finally ending up in the remote island of South Georgia.
You can explore the maps of these arduous journeys via the interactive map
created by the Fitzwilliam Museum specifically for the resource; click on locations en route and see accounts written or photographic evidence of what happened when and where and sometimes to shocking effect. Children can follow the journey of the Nimrod expedition, using the interactive map and use the links to the actual photographs, artefacts and diary entries and this will really bring the adventure to life!
Children have the opportunity to study old equipment from expeditions and the modern counterparts including how approaches to navigation have evolved.
You could download the app for Google Expeditions for a 360 immersive experience that allows teachers and students to explore the world through over 800 virtual-reality (VR) and 100 augmented-reality (AR) tours. Why not try LGfL’s new Explore Geography AR – the latest Active Lens collaboration with Inspyro, which uses augmented reality technology?
Furthermore, you could explore different environments through the Class VR Virtual Reality headsets and explore the Gentoo Penguins in their environment. You can challenge the children with tasks to identify features of the penguins and explore how it has helped survive in their environment. Remember to look at the planning documents available to you, if you are part of the ClassVR community. If you want to take it further still, you could link your computing curriculum with the topic and use Co-spaces; the children can code their own Antarctic ‘worlds’ and then ‘create’ a ‘newly discovered species’ and put that into their Co-spaces world.
To get your class empathising with the great explorers of the past, they could put themselves in to a polar explorer’s walking boots, starting with some drama activities, click here to see how one school turned their classroom into a windswept, freezing landscape. The children can explore further the risks accompanied to being exposed to frostbite and all the risks associated to that.
If your aim is for the children to write fantastic descriptions as part of a narrative, they can use some of the images to ‘say as much as possible in as few words as possible’ as Anthony Horowitz states when asked, “How do you turn inspiration in to writing?” taken from LGfL’s ReadingZone Live resource.
You might want to get children exploring the J2e tools in JIT for infants and J2E. They can complete different activities including making animations or even try coding setting different backgrounds in Visual 2Code.
The eBooks by Rising Stars is a resource developed to engage reluctant readers aged 7 to 14+. For example, the ‘Mystery Mob’ are six boys who get into scrapes and unravel mysterious happenings. One the titles in the series is ‘Mystery Mob and the Abominable Snowman’.
Arctic weather conditions have an impact on our lives in the UK. The sort of data collected by early equipment is still collected today and helps Meteorologists to predict weather forecasts here and around the world. Real life maths activities could be explored through such data and positional maths activities using compass and coordinates are other possibilities.
Geology including fossils can be explored in Science. Remember to visit Switched on Science for further ideas about reversible and irreversible changes, conductors and insulators and how plants and animals adapt to their environments.
The extreme cold in Antarctica means that your body burns much more energy than it would at home, so you need a special high energy diet. The average adult normally needs 2000-2500 calories a day but when you’re out in the field in the Antarctic you will need over 6000 calories a day.
Ever fancied trying your hand at green screening? This was once a technique only available to professionals; you will be surprised by the basic equipment now needed to produce some great films directed by the children themselves; possibly equipment you already have in school? Children will undoubtedly learn a great deal from the experience of planning and writing for a film shoot! If you are wanting to give it a further professional touch, you can add sound effects from the BBC and background music from Audio Network the LGfL music database. Scott’s hut and related images within the LGfL resource can be used for authentic backgrounds.
Podcasting is an excellent way for pupils to gain confidence in public speaking and can provide a new sense of audience for children, as part of a podcast or radio broadcast. The pupils of Chalgrove Primary School in Barnet have posted a number of podcasts listed under Shackleton’s Expedition. (You could use the timeline to provide the historical facts and chronology for the basis of these podcasts.)
As part of the exploration your pupils could develop their poetic talents; once they have written and edited their poems they could share their performance on LGfL’s ‘Performa poem’ platform. To enhance the performance, remember to make use of the sound effects mentioned previously above. Included in the Performa Poem resource are clips to help with performances, tips to get pupils writing poems, and information about filming and editing videos.
If you are planning on developing your pupils’ art skills perhaps you could explore different media. The pupils could get inspired by artwork of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) from Pinterest boards.
Further to the wealth of resources you can find on LGfL there are plenty of other places to supplement these ideas with. The BBC website has many links to historical figures and scientific explanations (requires Flash).
In addition, the Scott Polar Research Institute sometimes run free events. For example they have ‘Twilight at the Museums on Wednesday 20th February 2019 (4:30-7:30) for a FREE after-hours event for families.
Visit their website on https://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/museum/events/ for more information.