Antarctica: Land of Rock and Ice
a Web Quest by
Andrew S. Basler
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teachers | Credits
Antartica has long been known as the land of rock and ice. It was the last continent to be discovered. For years the harsh climate kept westerners and other explorers out. Only recently have scientists established permanent research stations and started to discover amazing things about the deceptively barren land. Although Antarctica appears devoid of life, just below the ice is an entire ecosystem that lives year round. In addition to the wildlife discoveries, Antarctica serves at the world's natural barometer. Because the ecosystem is so delicately balanced, environmental problems in Antarctica can indicate future problems for the rest of the world. Antarctica has mush to teach us.
In this WebQuest, you will be divided up into small groups. Each group will complete questions about Antarctica, using the internet as a research tool. After you have learned all about Antarctica, you will take a virtual tour beginning in New Zealand, and ending at the South Pole. The tour will show you the things you will have learned from your research. The virtual tour will also be completed online. Along the way, you will be asked specific questions about each point of the tour. Finally, after you have completed the research and the virtual tour, you will write a one page paper explaining the benefits of scientifically studying Antarctica. Before beginning the Process, skip down to the Evaluation Rubric so you will know what your grade is based on.
1. Before beginning your internet research, you will watch the IMAX dvd Antarctica: An Adventure of a Different Nature. The dvd will introduce you to the Antarctic environment and the scientific research currently going on there.
2. After the movie, you will be divided into small groups. Each group needs to have access to the internet.
3. First, go to the New Zealand - Antarctica Site. You will see a list of Information sheets relating to different subjects. Use those sheets to research and answer the following questions:
4. Now that you have learned about some of the science of Antarctica, You are ready to take a trip to the south pole. Click on the following link to begin the tour, and don't forget to answer the questions below: New Zealand to the South Pole Tour
5. Now you have both researched and virtually toured Antarctica. You're final task is to prepare a one page paper that explains the purpose of the scientific studies going on in Antarctica. What do we gain from such studies, and how does our knowledge benefit. If necessary, continue exploring different parts of the tour to learn more about the differing scientific studies in Antarctica. In addition, you may do your own internet research using the Google Search Engine.
6. Congratulations! You're finished with your tasks.
Your grade will be based upon the following rubric:
|Research and Virtual Tour Rubric||Possible Points||Self-Assessment||Teacher Assessment|
|Paper is complete and shows evidence of research.||50
|15 total questions, worth 2 points apiece||30
|Evidence of teamwork, cooperated with other members of small group.||20
|Total Possible Points||
If you have any questions be sure to ask your teacher for clarification.
Exploring science in Antarctica is very important. The unique ecosystem and animals of the southern polar region have adapted to survive in harsh environments. The delicate balance of life there can also serve as a "barometer" for the rest of the world. In addition, atmospheric conditions in Antarctica make it an ideal place to do experiments. Finally, Antarctica promises to remain pristine and unspoiled because of the treaties signed to protect it. Humans have much to learn from studying the Antarctic continent.
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Grade Band: 6 - 12, Science, Social Studies
Tennessee State Curriculum Standards: Science
6th 6.2.tpi.1 investigate how organisms may be affected by environmental factors (e.g., pollution, temperature/climate change)
5.1 Understand how organisms are adapted for surviving in certain environments
8th 2.3 Identify the major biomes of the world
9-12 Earth Science - 4.2 investigate the evolution of Earth
Scientific Research - 2.5 analyze and study classical problems
Tennessee State Curriculum Standards: Social Studies
6th 3.03 Understand the characteristics and uses of spatial organization of Earth’s surface
6.5.tpi.10. analyze the ever-changing role of transportation and subsequent effects on society
9-12 World Geography - 3.6 understand how physical processes shape Earth’s natural landscapes and affect environments
Preceding and Ensuing Events of Instruction:
Before beginning this Web Quest, the teacher should show the IMAX video "Antarctica: An Adventure of a Different Nature" (38 mins). This movie will give the students some good background knowledge on the current knowledge of Antarctica and ongoing scientific research. After completing the movie, the students need to be divided into groups and provided internet access for their research. The teacher should be prepared to help the students locate specific sections to read if they have difficulty. Also, suggest some key words to begin their own research using the Google search engine. After the process is completed, the teacher may want to substitute a class discussion in place of a one page paper.
Purpose of Web Quest and Learning Improvements:
To introduce students to the Antarctic environment, to teach and provide examples of adaptations for survival, to promote interest in scientific research, to promote the understanding of human's impact on the environment, to promote the understanding of earth's natural processes, to promote group research skills, to promote internet research skills, to promote teamwork skills, to promote critical thinking through short essay questions, to promote evaluation skills through 15 read and respond questions.
Antarctica New Zealand (2003). Info Sheets. Retrieved February 20, 2004 at http://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/Pages/InfoEducation/InfoSheets.msa
Google (2004). Search Engine. Retrieved February 20, 2004 at www.google.com
Slingshot. (1991). Antarctica, An Adventure of a Different Nature [dvd]. Chicago, Illinois: Museum of Science and Industry.
University of Chicago (1999). Welcome to Antarctica! Retrieved February 20, 2004 at http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/vtour/
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