Summary of Antarctica: cool science in action | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Antarctica: cool science in action
Term 4 starting 23 November 2017.

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News: Despite a large storm stopping science research teams working on sea ice away from Scott Base, the LEARNZ 2017 field trip for 2017 will go ahead during 23-29 November. The LEARNZ team are currently working hard with Antarctica New Zealand to develop a new programme at Scott Base. The trip will now explore the special nature and importance of Antarctic ice; the effect it has on our climate and what climate change might mean for Antarctica and us all. The trip will also have an emphasis on how science is supported: for example, how people travel, eat, sleep, work, play and stay safe in Antarctica.


At the end of 2017 go to a place that has fascinated explorers and scientists for over 100 years; Antarctica. Unlike early adventurers you won't be sailing there. Instead, you will be flying on a C17 Globemaster that will land on the Antarctic sea ice. When you arrive, it will be about -20°C and your first steps will fill your senses to overflowing. Your eyes will struggle to adapt to the bright light. You will hear weird sounds that your boots make as you walk on dry snow. There will be a strange sensations as the tip of your nose goes cold. On the horizon, there will be nothing human-made to help you judge distance. You will wonder how 1.5 metres of sea ice can hold up your 265 tonne Globemaster.

Your friends on this trip are Antarctic scientists and other experts. You will all be staying together at New Zealand's Scott Base. You will join them for meals in the Scott Base dining room. You will sit in on morning meetings to plan the day's activity. You will complete a survival training course before going out in the field. Then you will travel across the ice to do some cool science. We'll look after the RAMS forms - all you need to do is enrol your class!

This will be the 13th LEARNZ field trip to Antarctica. The opportunities for student involvement and interaction during this trip will ensure their learning is very real.

In preparation for this field trip you will learn about:

  • 100 years of science in Antarctica
  • the significance of Antarctica in the development of international science during the heroic era and since the 1957/58 International Geophysical Year (IGY)
  • Antarctica as a place for scientific research
  • the importance of Antarctic science in helping us understand the dynamic world we live in
  • sea ice
  • glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice
  • the greenhouse effect and climate change
  • why we should be concerned about climate change
  • Antarctica as a place for scientific research

During the field trip you will:

  • see Shelley's tweets on twitter
  • travel to Antarctica aboard a giant C17 Globemaster
  • complete a survival training course
  • ride across sea ice on a skidoo
  • travel out to a sea ice field camp
  • inspect Hillary's Hut and Scott's Discovery Hut, which have both undergone recent restoration
  • join scientists as they prepare for their 350 km traverse of the Ross Ice Shelf (the size of France)
  • see how science is supported in Antarctica

By the end of the field trip:

  • students will have gained knowledge, skills and experience to understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environment (Social Studies Level 4)
  • students will have gained understanding about the Nature of Science - understanding science, investigating in science, communicating in science, participating and contributing (Science Levels 2-4)

After the field trip:

  • invite someone from your community who has been to Antarctica to share their experiences with your class
  • invite a scientist to share their knowledge about climate change with your class

The LEARNZ Team think that joining NZASE and staying connected through NZ Science Teacher will help you become a better teacher of science.

Teacher comments

"My curriculum focus was supported fully by the LEARNZ Antarctica programme and also two NIWA scientists visiting the class in person helped no end to endorse what we had learned". Valerie Moratti from Havelock North Intermediate

"I thought LEARNZ did a great job of mixing up content that covered multiple curriculum areas in a logical and accessible way". Adrian Humm from Ruawai College

"Having all of the Antarctica resources together makes it very easy for students to self-explore the parts of the topic they are especially interested in". Lisa O'Connor from St Teresa's School Featherston

Go to more comments about Antarctic field trips.

Where you will go

2017 LEARNZ Antarctica field trip. Why Antarctica? Antarctica has been a place for science research for over 100 years. Antarctica is much studied because of its harsh environment and its major affect on world oceans and weather patterns. It takes 5 hours to fly from Christchurch to Antarctica aboard a C17 Globemaster aircraft.

Through Antarctic Field Training and living at Scott Base you can investigate how people working in Antarctica stay safe, maintain personal well-being and relationships with other people, and take responsibility for reducing their impact upon the environment. After Antarctic Field Skills Training you will be experienced and ready to join groups at Scott Base (2km from McMurdo station) in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. Temperatures in Antarctica in October/November can be as low as -40°C. You will need to be very well prepared.

Learning Areas/Levels

Health and Physical Education: Personal Health and Physical Development Levels 2-4, Relationships with Other People Levels 2-4, Healthy Communities and Environments Levels 2-4; Science: Nature of Science Levels 2-4, Material World Levels 2-4, Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-4, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8; Social Sciences: Geography Level 6; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-5, Continuity and Change Levels 2-5

  • Vision, Values, Key Competencies, Principles, Literacy and Numeracy

    By their nature, LEARNZ field trips integrate with the higher levels of the NZ Curriculum. Participation encourages development of the Key Competencies around Thinking, Using language, symbols and text, Managing self, Relating to others, and Participating and contributing. Teachers indicate this in testimonials. LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Literacy, with opportunities to develop skills in Listening, Reading and Viewing and in Speaking, Writing and Presenting. More about LEARNZ as a Reading Resource and student writing opportunities with LEARNZ. Select LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Numeracy, encouraging the development of skills in Number and Algebra, in Statistics and in Geometry and Measurement.

  • ESOL

    As well as providing visual and audio material and access to real experiences, LEARNZ links well to ESOL Principles, especially Principle 3 Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes? Principle 4 Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

  • What's in a Field Trip

    Every LEARNZ field trip has its own newly-built, self-contained web site ready for integration into your teaching and learning programme. Teacher Support has curriculum integration, resources, newsletters, support and evaluation. Prepare Students provides opportunities for student inquiry on two sets of image-rich background pages at reading levels 2 years apart, (students can click to have those pages read to them out loud), online interactive and other activities to check students' understanding, and a glossary. During the field trip there are daily additions such as a diary, video clips, profiles of the experts (ideal careers education), a photo gallery, live tweets on twitter, and ambassador (mascot) page updates. Live web conferences on our enterprise-level Zoom platform scales to enable multiple teachers to manage students putting prepared and spontaneous questions to experts (recorded for replay). After the field trip, teachers are encouraged to take further action with their class in the community or to go on a related field trip, or to invite a guest speaker, or to present what they have learned to a school assembly or wider group. Teachers also fill in an online evaluation (more about reflective practice), the field trip prize winner is drawn, and the final newsletter is sent. Content remains online for continued use.

  • How teachers use LEARNZ

    View some of over 1,000 teacher comments in testimonials. There are two main ways teachers use a LEARNZ virtual field trip with their class. Firstly, a LEARNZ field trip is ideally an immersive, engaging, synchronous, online learning experience with real-time components and a myriad of opportunities for teachers and students. Secondly, and less ideal but still effective, a LEARNZ field trip can be used as a retrospective experience where the resources such as photos, text, activities, videos and audioconferences/web conferences comprise a unique collection of authentic, contemporary New Zealand teaching and learning material.

  • What Now

    Not Registered with LEARNZ? Are you a New Zealand Registered or Provisionally-Registered Teacher on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website? Register free with LEARNZ Now.

    Already Registered with LEARNZ and activated your account? Log in to your personal MyLEARNZ Control Panel and then enrol your classes at no cost in field trips. Note: Enrolment is only needed for the current and future year's field trips.

    Registered but need help? Check your email for activation instructions - contact us if the message did not make it to your email inbox. Log on to MyLEARNZ. Go to Using LEARNZ.

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Introductory video for this field trip: Watch, embed or share on Vimeo or click below to watch here.

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Shelley the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Shelley, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Antarctica, climate, climate change, environment, freezing, glaciers, human impacts, ice, ice shelf, modelling, monitoring change, ocean currents, oceans, Offshore, Ross Sea, scientific research, Scott Base, sea, sea ice, sustainability, temperature, water