Grades 9–12 Activities
Students will analyze the roles and contributions to the history of exploration of two Antarctic explorers: England's Robert Falcon Scott and Norway's Roald Amundsen. Students will observe tools and other objects the teams used, collect information on the role of team members, and learn about the backgrounds of Scott and Amundsen. They will use what they learn to make inferences about each explorer's motivation and planning strategies for being first to the South Pole, and for understanding the outcome of the race.BACKGROUND FOR EDUCATOR
NYS Social Studies Core Curriculum
Standard 2.3: Study of the major social, political, cultural, and religious developments in world history involves learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.
By the end of the 1800's Antarctica was the last remaining unknown in continental exploration. For some explorers being the first to the South Pole was the ultimate triumph. While the Pole was goal of many expeditions, others also included scientific teams that studied meteorological conditions, ocean currents, magnetism, geology, and biology. In 1909, two very different men, England's Robert Falcon Scott and Norway's Roald Amundsen, vied to be first to the South Pole. Each man utilized different strategies to travel overland, and to deal with the challenges of the extreme cold, malnutrition, frostbite, and howling winds.BEFORE YOUR VISIT
Plan how your students will explore Race to the End of the Earth.
In the exhibition, students will analyze the contributions of Scott and Amundsen in the history of geographic exploration. Using the student worksheets, students will interpret and analyze documents and artifacts to make inferences about the explorers' motivation for reaching the South Pole. Students will work independently to compare and analyze several aspect of the teams' journey: team members, transportation, clothing, food, housing, and planning.
Distribute copies of the student worksheets before coming to the Museum. Review the worksheet with students. Make sure they understand what they are to do.
Class Discussion: What is Exploration?
Use the following questions to stimulate a class discussion about exploration:
Activity: Explorations in the Early 1900s
Call on students to share what they know about life in the early 1900s. Ask students to think about culture, politics, explorations, technology, and social developments during that time. Tell students they will work together to create a timeline showing developments in these areas from the 1900 to 1910, the year Scott and Admundsen left for Antarctica. Divide the class into four groups. Assign one topic to each group to research: culture, technology, politics, or social developments. Ask groups to find at least one entry per year. (Examples: Culture — silent movies; Technology — First Model T Ford; Politics — British Empire includes Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan and many other countries; Social Developments — advocates fight for children's labor laws and welfare.) When groups are ready have them create one timeline showing all the developments. Discuss with students how this might give them a different perspective on the journeys that Admundsen and Scott made.
Explain to students that at the turn of the last century, Antarctica was the last continent to be explored. Have them share what they know about its geography, seasons, climate, and wildlife. Ask:
Tell students that in the exhibition, Race to the End of the Earth, they will follow the in the footsteps of two explorers, Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen, who vied to be the first to reach the South Pole.DURING YOUR VISIT
Just beyond the theater, students can "Meet the Men."
As students go through the exhibition, encourage them to pay close attention to the decisions the British and Norwegian teams made about clothing, transportation, and timing, and to the consequences of those choices.
Race to the End of the Earth Exhibition
4th floor (30–45 minutes)
Lower Level (15–20 minutes)
Class Discussion: Scott vs. Amundsen
Have students work in small groups to share and discuss what they learned. Then have groups present their findings to the rest of the class. Ask:
Activity: Apsley Cherry-Garrard's Journal
The Last Place on Earth
I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination
Antarctica: The Farthest Place Close to Home