Students have read about research efforts in Antarctica. In this lesson they will learn about the importance of Antarctic research and how scientists gain information by drilling and studying ice cores. They will also learn about a specific expedition and the challenges of living and working in a harsh environment.
Students will use information from the Secrets of the Ice Web site to learn how studying Antarctic ice contributes to world climate research. Students will answer four questions and then use what they have learned to write a report about the work and daily life of a researcher in Antarctica.
- Students will learn about the importance of research in Antarctica.
- Students will understand how snow becomes part of the Antarctic ice cap.
- Students will learn about Antarctica's harsh environment.
- Students will discover how scientists drill ice cores and what information the ice reveals.
- Students will apply this knowledge by writing a report about a researcher's work and daily life in Antarctica.
Applied Content Standards
Standard 4: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical and human characteristics of places.
Standard 7: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface.
Standard 14: The geographically informed person knows and understands how human actions modify the physical environment.
Standard 15: The geographically informed person knows and understands how physical systems affect human systems.
Student Web Activity Answers
- Antarctica affects atmospheric circulation and the circulation of deep ocean waters, which are key elements in the global weather system.
- The harshest environment is at the Admundsen-Scott station. The McMurdo station ranks next, and Palmer station has the least harsh environment.
- Fallen snow is full of air pockets. As more and more snow falls, its weight presses on the snow underneath. This weight causes the snow underneath to change into spheres, or firn. As the firn compresses, it forms crystals. The increasing pressure closes the air pockets, forming bubbly ice. Eventually the ice crystals merge and absorb the trapped air, forming pure ice.
- Scientists want to learn about the impact of humans on the earth's climate, and only in the past 200 years has human activity substantially affected the climate.
- Students' reports will vary but should include an explanation of their research activities and details of daily life that newspaper readers would find interesting.
Go To Student Web Activity