In winter Antarctica grows in size. The surrounding sea freezes for up to 300km, making this the world’s largest seasonal event! Mark on a map of Antarctica a 300km wide ‘ice-skirt’ around the continent.
At the Geographic South Pole stands a ceremonial pole striped red and white, like a barber’s pole, with a metallic mirror ball on top. Around this pole fly the flags of many nations in a display of the international co-operation that characterises the Antarctic. Design a special Antarctic flag that symbolises this international co-operation.
Australian expeditioners travel to Antarctica seven times a year by ship. Each year around 350 Australians travel south with about 8,000 cubic metres of general cargo and 2.6 million litres of fuel. Identify the hazards for shipping. Should Australia develop its own air link?
Research the type of vehicles used in Antarctica. What special features do they need and why?
What special personal qualities do people need in order to live and work harmoniously with others in an isolated community like Antarctica?
One of the greatest problems in Antarctica is isolation. List 12 items that you would take with you if you were going to spend a year in Antarctica.
Meals are important, especially when working in the extreme cold. Food is often seen as a morale booster. Make a food provisions list, estimating the food needed for an entire year. How long can fresh food last? Remember that you can store the food in the ice and get water by melting ice and snow.
Imagine that you are a wandering albatross – the largest flying bird in the world. You cover vast tracts of the Southern Ocean, flying several thousands of kilometres on a foraging trip. Where have you been and what have you seen? Describe your trip to your lifelong partner – including the danger of narrowly avoiding being caught and drowned on a tuna long-line. The wingspan of a wandering albatross is up to 3.5 metres – as a classroom activity, measure the size of your ‘wing-span’.
Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth, along with being the driest, windiest and highest. Explore why temperatures are lower at higher latitudes. How do the coldness, windiness and height compare with the conditions in our own environment?
Think of words, which describe Antarctica. Create a web diagram or concept map by drawing arrows linking the words.
"Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success." 5,000 men applied for this job - a blend of drifters, adventurers, idealists and escapists. Compare this with today's advertisements for positions of a similar nature.
Some of the first Australian Antarctic buildings are falling down, some being only 40 years old. As a class, discuss whether they should be preserved as part of history, or are they too modern to have heritage value?
Imagine being Douglas Mawson when one of your two companions vanishes down a crevasse and your second companion dies in his sleep. You are alone, 250km from your base with little strength left - what do you do?
No Antarctic myths or legends exist. Write your own Antarctic Myth to explain the savagery and beauty of the environment. Imagine trying to describe the first sighting of Antarctica.
Choose an Antarctic animal and discover - where it lives, how it breeds and what it feeds on. Compare this to a desert lizard and explain how it has adapted to its environment. Are there any similarities?
With more than 350 Australian working in Antarctica a year, families are naturally separated. What if your mother or father went to Antarctica? Think of the strategies that would minimise the problems of separation. Is it harder for the person who goes or those who stay behind?
Once a men-only domain, women are now going to Antarctica as station leaders, scientists, doctors, chefs, field-training instructors, store officers, helicopter engineers, etc.. Why do you think it took so long for women to be accepted?
There is an increasing demand for tourists to be allowed to visit Antarctica. It is your job to design an advertisement for tourists - are there any guidelines or restrictions on where tourists are allowed to go? Should there be a limit on the number of tourists to visit Antarctica each year?
Rubbish tips at Australian stations were closed in the 1980's. Most tips have now been cleared and sewage gets treated. Some waste is incinerated, while the majority of waste is returned to Australia for recycling or disposal. This means that the packaging of goods sent to Antarctica must be minimised. Investigate food packaging - which types of food are wasteful?
Research the main health risks that expeditioners face - hypothermia, frostbite, broken limbs, carbon monoxide poisoning, snow blindness, depression and low resistance to infection from new arrivals. How can they be avoided or treated?