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Antarctica

Explore Antarctica to find out about icebergs, penguins, and famous explorers.

Antarctica from space

Antarctica is a large area of land that is covered by a great sheet of ice, and is about the toughest place you could choose to live.

  • Open this 'New Zealand From Space' website to see how big Antarctica is compared to New Zealand.
  • As you look at the picture think about the four questions below: What do you notice about the size of Antarctica compared with Australia?
    How close is Antarctica to New Zealand and Australia?
  • What are the names of the oceans and seas that surround Antarctica?
  • What do the different colours on New Zealand, Australia, and Antarctica tell us?
  • Open the document: 

    Word icon. From Space Looking down to Earth (Word, 110 KB)

  • Write down some differences between Antarctica and New Zealand.

Extreme cold

Did you know that Antarctica is the coldest place on earth? In fact the lowest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is -89.2°C. Then if you add the wind chill factor, the temperature can go as low as – 100°C.

So, if you walked outside into -100°C without wearing the proper clothing you would die in a minute. The moisture in your blood would freeze and set like jelly!

Tracking icebergs

Ed was reading somewhere that every summer December to February; Antarctica places about 5,000 giant icebergs in the sea. Now, that is a lot of frozen water and a huge number of icebergs.

Extra for Experts: 'Estimating the Size of Icebergs with Satellite Images'.

Expert iceberg hunters use special tools and techniques to precisely measure the size of icebergs. Open this link to learn two methods for measuring the area of an iceberg using satellite images.

Antarctic wildlife

Open these three websites to find more interesting information about the animal life in Antarctica.

Antarctic poetry

An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic.

Follow the easy instructions on this 'Acrostic Poem' website to see how clever you are at writing poems about Antarctica.

Antarctic expedition

By the late 19th century, Antarctica was the last unexplored continent on earth. Unknown whale and seal hunters were probably the first humans to set foot on the continent, but it was not until the 20th century that Britain, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France and Belgium began competing against each other to discover the South Pole and claim it as their new territory.

This is the advertisement that Ernest Shackleton placed in the newspaper for his trip to the South Pole:

  'Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.'  

Design this advertisement as it would appear in a newspaper you would buy today. What words would you choose to encourage people to join Shackleton's expedition team?

You need to attract people's attention so think about using:

  • positive, exciting, eye-catching words
  • images
  • different fonts
  • colours.

Antarctic treaty

Antarctica is the only continent with no one country controlling it. In 1959 the Antarctic Treaty was signed to control the actions of people in Antarctica and to try and preserve the special features of this continent.

  • Check out Antarctica International's website to help you answer these three important questions:
    Who 'owns' Antarctica?
  • How is Antarctica ruled?
  • Which countries are interested in Antarctica and why?
  • Remember to open the PDF files in the 'Antarctica International' website as there are maps and diagrams to help you.
  • To show your new learning about the Antarctic Treaty, design a flowchart to show all the important parts of the treaty.

Mapping Antarctica

Wiki found that Antarctica:

  • is covered by permafrost (permanently frozen ground)
  • is surrounded by water
  • is about 1 1/2 times larger than the United States
  • has about 87% of the world's ice.

Wiki tried to copy a map of Antarctica but some of the names disappeared and left red lines! Help Wiki by writing in the missing names.

The right clothing

When flying to Antarctica people need to be properly dressed. Providing warmth and protection from the harsh Antarctic elements (cold, ice, and wind) can be difficult.

Or –

'Man is unique amongst animals in that he can live in the widest range of environments from extreme heat to extreme cold.'

  • Draw a poster to show what you think this phrase means.

Penguins

All penguins look different, but they also have similar features. Penguins are excellent swimmers, their wings work like small paddles which push them quickly through the water. Try these activities.

Kōpaka

Ka noho ko te Antarctica te kāinga noho mō ngā momo kororā katoa. Tirohia ētahi o ngā momo kororā e whakamāramatia ana i runga i tēnei paetukutuku.

  • Ko te hoiho he momo kororā e noho ana i ngā takutai moana o Aotearoa. Rapua ētahi atu pārongo e pā ana ki te hoiho, hei whakautu i te pātai i raro.
  • Hangaia he whakaaturanga PowerPoint e whakamārama ana i ngā take e toru, he aha ai i noho ko te hoiho te kororā onge katoa o te ao, ā, he aha ngā mahi ki te whakahaumaru i tēnei kororā.

Early polar explorers

Explorers often kept records of their thoughts, observations, and details of events from their lives. They usually kept illustrations (photographed or hand drawn) as records in their journals.

Icebergs

Do you know that there are far more icebergs around Antarctica than the Arctic? In fact, 93% of the world's icebergs can be found around this southern continent.

  • Scroll down the page and use the information from this iceberg website to make a PowerPoint about icebergs.
  • Here are some things to think about as you visit this website.
    Examine the size of an iceberg below the water.
  • Compare icebergs from the Artic and the Antarctic.
  • Investigate how icebergs are named.
  • Explore the map and see where icebergs are placed around the Antarctic continent.
  • View previously found icebergs that have been photographed from space.