On March 1, 2007, teachers and students around the world are invited to help launch the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY), a scientific program focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic. From March 2007 to March 2009, thousands of scientists from over 60 nations will be involved in more than 200 projects examining physical, biological and social research topics. IPY is an unprecedented opportunity for teachers and students to follow cutting-edge science.
The official web site, International Polar Year, includes a blog where teachers can share activities and ideas. An online flyer titled Breaking the Ice describes activities that can be carried out in classrooms. Here are resources that will help your students understand the IPY’s study of the impact of changes in earth’s ice and snow on our planet and our lives.
What Organisms Live in Antarctica?
In these activities, students will discover the characteristics that enable Antarctica’s many life forms to live in this continent of extreme cold, wind, and extended periods of light and darkness. In a weeklong unit, students research how flora and fauna have adapted to thrive in Antarctica and use their knowledge to create imaginary polar organisms.
Polar Bear Central
From the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada, this web site is all about the giant arctic bears, their habitat, and behavior. Also, you’ll find out what threatens the polar bears’ survival and how WWF is working to protect them.
To the Ends of the Earth: Research in Polar Seas
In this lesson, students will discover the differences between Arctic and Antarctic terrains, the hardships polar explorers endured, and how modern technologies have expedited polar exploration.
Melting Polar: Antarctica
This two-minute sound segment from Pulse of the Planet discusses the effect of global warming at the South Pole. It is thought that the effect would be different from that at the North Pole because the South Pole icecap is located over land.
Impact of Climate Warming on Polar Ice Sheets Confirmed
This page discusses recent changes in polar ice. Excellent photos are included.
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