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Tales From Antarctica - Social Studies/Language Arts for grades 6-8

In this activity, students will read accounts of expeditions to the Antarctic and create a "Tales From Antarctica" skit, video, or radio program.

Learning Objectives: Students will be able to interpret facts and express meaning through writing and oral activities. Students will be able to synthesize information from a variety of sources.

1. Involve students in a class discussion about why they think people want to travel to inhospitable places. The following is a list of possible discussion topics:
  •  Where are some inhospitable places people have traveled to in the past? How about today?
  •  Why do you think people travel to these places?
  •  What personality traits would a person likely have who would go to these places?
  •  What rewards do people receive for traveling to these places? (intrinsic and extrinsic)

2. Ask students to write for several minutes about a fantasy expedition in their Antarctica Learning Log. This expedition could take place in the past, present or future. 3. Divide the class into small groups and send them these web sites to read an account of an actual Antarctic expedition.
  •  Scott Polar Research Institute Web site: http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/resources/expeditions/ (Click on one of the links that has a summary box, or click on the "Little-known Antarctic Expeditions" link.)

  •  South-Pole.com Web site: http://www.south-pole.com/homepage.html (Select "The Explorers" from the "History" pull down menu.)

    Teacher Note: If your classroom has limited access to the Internet, you may choose to print some of the accounts and hand them out to the students. Depending on the reading level of your students, you may choose to handpick the groups, making sure each group contains a strong reader.

4.Tell the students that they are going to create a "Tales from Antarctica" skit, video, or radio program based on either their favorite explorer's story or their own fantasy expeditions. The students start by writing a script for their program which must be written in advance. Scripts should include the following information:
  •  Date
  •  Purpose for the expedition
  •  Person's name
  •  Name of the location from which they are reporting
  •  Details of the expedition
  •  Thoughts and/or feelings about the expedition
Teacher Note: If possible, have students listen to the story of the Shackleton Expedition on the American Radio Works Web site to get ideas for the creation of their radio show: www.americanradioworks.org/features/walking/index.html

5. If your students have access to audio or video recording equipment, have them produce an audio tape or video based on their final script.

6. Play the radio or video programs for the entire class. Students that do not have access to audio or video equipment should perform their skits in front of the group. Ask students to write down their thoughts, feelings and questions as they watch or listen to each performance. Provide time for students to ask questions regarding the expeditions.

Teacher Note: Please email WBUR with any details of skits, videos, or radio programs that your class produces. We will post these programs on our website for any classes that are interested. email antarctica@wbur.bu.edu