Program Segments

This program introduces Antarctica and the entire Module and also offers ways to bring key aspects of the first 2 National Science Standards to life: "Understands basic features of the Earth" (Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 66), such as ice and liquid water, and Standard 2: "Understands basic Earth processes" (Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 71), such as plate tectonics, and how jet streams and ocean currents create extreme cold and high winds. The video uses dramatic and beautiful images to paint a fast-paced visual portrait of the place where students will be experiencing some important and fascinating science principles in the following videos and hands-on Activities.

Program 2 FIRE AND ICE
It was the Greek natural philosopher, Heraclitus, who said that the only thing that's constant is change. Yet on geological time scales, over millions of years, gradual change is sometimes hard to see. This video provides informative and intriguing examples of how both innovative technology and good, old-fashioned pick and shovel field work can help us understand how Antarctica and the Earth have changed over time. In addition to seeing inherently fascinating phenomena such as volcanoes, ice caves and ice streams, this program provides an intriguing case study in the scientific method, relating to Science Standard 15 "Understands the nature of scientific inquiry," (Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 9).

This video begins the 3 program sub-set of PASSPORT TO ANTARCTICA focusing on life in the most extreme environment on Earth. These 3 programs allow you to cover a substantial number of the benchmarks found in Science Standard 4, "Knows about the diversity and unity that characterize life" (Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 101); Standard 7, "Understands how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival" (Project 2061, page 115); and Science Standard 8, "Understands the cycling of matter and flow of energy through the living environment" (Project 2061, page 118.) Activities suggested for these 3 programs also allow students to simulate some of the instruments used by the researchers. The combination of video, Activities and online extensions allow you to introduce and explain photosynthesis, adaptation through natural selection, the concept of species, and the workings of an entire ecosystem in a dramatic and memorable way.

Program 4 PENGUIN POWER: At Home on the Ice
This video allows you to introduce the very important Standard 9, "Understands the basic concepts of the evolution of species," (Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 122.) In addition, some of the Hands-On Activities such as "Blubber Glove" also allow you to explore aspects of Science Standard 11, "Understands energy types, sources, and conversions, and their relationship to heat and temperature" (Project 2061, page 81), something you can extend with the Activities suggested for program 5. The program begins by contrasting how humans and penguins meet common needs for warmth, food and shelter amid the most extreme conditions on Earth and introduces adaptation and strategies of competition or cooperation as key to the penguins' survival in Antarctica. Just like Charles Darwin looking at different species of finches in the Galapagos, students will see different species of penguin inhabiting slightly different ecological niches, with differing plumage colors and-more importantly-different ways of life and behavioral adaptations.

This video allows you to introduce an additional Science Standard, #6, added to those cited for programs 3 and 4: "Knows the general structure and functions of cells in organisms," (Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 110.)

Program 6 HEROES AND HEROINES: Explorers Past and Present
Program 6 focuses on human stories of exploring this remote and challenging continent, and the transformation from an age of heroic, male adventurers to one where teams of scientists, females as well as males, work at making discoveries on what are still the frontiers of knowledge. This video integrates Science Standard 16, "Understands the scientific enterprise" (Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 14) with history and fascinating vignettes of today's researchers in the field.

Previous videos have focused on earth and life science. Program 7 offers entry points to discuss some key aspects of physical and space science: the electromagnetic spectrum, the composition of the atmosphere and the nature of meteorites. Scenes of "The Antarctic Search for Meteorites" provide a way to introduce NSES 3, "Understands essential ideas about the composition and structure of the universe and the Earth's place in it", (Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 61.)

"We shall not cease from exploration," wrote the poet, T.S Eliot, "and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time. The end is where we start from." In terms of global climate change, the poet was right: the poles turn out to be more sensitive than just about anywhere else on Earth. The ends are where climate change "starts from." This program and associated Hands-On Activities and online resources provide a way to show how changes to ozone on the molecular level can have global consequences, why changes in the ice sheets are so important, and how Antarctica serves as a window to the past, present and future of global weather and climate.