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Antarctica: The Farthest Place Close to Home

Take your students to the world’s most extreme environment with this curriculum. As they investigate this polar continent and its value to scientists worldwide, they will also learn about world climate, day and night cycles, ocean circulation, animal adaptation, and scientists working “in the field.”

Tailor your study to the amount of time you have, or take a few weeks to cover one or more ready-to-teach units. Either way, your students will make real-world connections to biology, geology, physical science, and technology. They'll also master many important science skills, including skills in research (on and off the Web), observation, description, and analysis. 

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Day and Night Cycles

Investigate what causes Antarctica’s six-month summers and winters by studying day and cycles across the globe.

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Extreme Temperatures

These resources help students to analyze the factors that underline Antarctica’s extreme cold conditions.

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Extreme Winds

It's not just Antarctica's temperatures that are so extreme. Winds speeds on the continent often exceed 100 mph each winter. Learn the causes of these ferocious katabatic winds.

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Types of Maps

Mercator, polar, azimuthal, and conic—do you get lost just hearing about the different types of map projections? Get back on track with a hands-on look at how each is created and what each displays.

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Exploration

How has our ability to map Antarctica changed in the past 100 years? Do a little exploring of your own, and see what we've learned since Roald Amundsen raced to reach the South Pole first.

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Curriculum Materials

Navigation & GPS

Before satellite imagery, scientists navigated by matching up geologic formations with those shown in aerial photographs—a tough task in Antarctica, where there aren't many visible features.

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Organisms

What does it take to survive in Antarctica? For emperor penguins, the answer is teamwork—they huddle together by the thousands to keep incubating eggs warm. Learn how other organisms have adapted.

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Hazards to Humans

Imagine sleeping with a snow shovel in your tent so you can dig out in the morning. Or having to stop your supply vehicle from falling into a crevasse. Just another demanding workday in Antarctica.

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