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Teacher Information
This quest was designed to incorporate the Arctic region into environmental studies.  Marked similarities and differences occur between the frequently confused polar regions, particularly with respect to animal species.  The plight of the indigenous inhabitants is not widely understood, and appreciation of threats and challenges they face is an opportunity for students to debate social justice issues such as reconciliation, at the same time extending their global conscience. 
TheBig 6 Information Skills Model

Stage 3 Curriculum Outcomes
 "Polar Connections"
welcoming learners to the excitement of science and engineering exploration and discovery. 
Background information
 A Powerpoint Rubricfor experienced users
A comparison of information skills models
 Arctic "did you know" cards

It is envisaged that this unit could initiate  a comprehensive study of the polar regions and if integrated with HSIE, represent a complete term unit . The quest is fictitious, designed both to motivate students, and develop research skills.   The quest complements the Stage 3 science units: - 
* "Environment Matters" - investigating the effect of human activity on
    environments both in Australia and the rest of the world and methods employed 
    to  address environmental damage
* "A Change For The Better" - investigating how species of plants and animals are 
    suited to their environments.
The HSIE unit on Antarctica (HSIE Units of Work k-6, p.127) focuses on the ecologically sustainable development of environments, and the effects of human and natural changes on those environments.  Incorporation of the Arctic region as a comparison would extend this unit duration to 10 weeks.

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Research Procedures have been based on the Big 6 information problem solving strategy - a systematic approach to information problem-solving encouraging critical thinking skills. 

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Polar Connections was a 1998 initiative of the United States National Science Foundation designed to "... provide opportunities for students to engage in creative, hands-on science and engineering activities around a polar theme.The 1998 National Science & Technology Week theme highlights the fact that both the North and South Poles are "natural laboratories" —unique in the matchless opportunities they offer scientists and engineers to conduct research in pristine, natural environments.  By taking on roles of polar researchers themselves, your students can gain a deep appreciation for the majesty of both regions, for their irreplaceable value as natural research laboratories—and for the adventure inherent in working at the cutting edges of science and technology on "the ice." Thank you for joining with us in welcoming learners to the excitement of science and engineering exploration and discovery..." ( Lane, N. 1998)
Getting to Know the Arctic and Antarctic - Polar Opposites
Creating solutions to topical ethical dilemmas regarding research in regions (such  as the Arctic) inhabited by indigenous peoples. 
Exploring similarities and differences between the Arctic and Antarctic regions and then create an equipment list for their own polar expeditions. 
Designing  and testing protective materials for use in polar regions.
Exploring the physics of heat transfer by way of understanding polar animal defenses against extreme cold

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able to identify 
actions of stewardship and carry them  out

explain what is
of stewardship

examine practical
ways of being
stewards in the 
earth community




identifies, describes and evaluates the 
interactions beteen
living things  and their effects on the 

recognises that the earth is the source
of most materials 
and describes 
and processes,
both natural and
human, that form 
and change the 
earth over time



demonstrates an
understanding of 
the inter-
connectedness between Australia and global environments and how individuals 
and groups can 
act in an ecologically responsible 

describes how Australian people, systems and communities are globally interconnected and 
recognises global responsibilities

 RS 3.5

RS 3.6


reads independently an extensive range of texts with increasing content demands and responds to themes and issues 

uses a comprehensive range of skills and atrategies appropriate to the type of text being read

produces texts in a fluent and legible style and uses computer technology to present these effectively in a variety of ways

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How do Antarctic animals stay warm in bone-chilling water?

How do aquatic animals survive in frozen lakes and ponds?

Find out what will survive UV-B radiation in Antarctica

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A comparison of six models including the NSW model

Jamie McKenzie's 7 step Research cycle 

This article is from Chapter Eight of Jamie McKenzie's new book,Beyond Technology: Questioning, Research and the Information Literate School. Jamie recommends consultation with principal, teacher librarian and staff to select and inservice a model which works in order to prevent infoglut ."...New technologies make word moving - “cutting and pasting” - quite ridiculous. We should now emphasize research questions that require problem-solving or decision-making, questions that cause students to make up their own minds and fashion their own answers..." (McKenzie, 1999) including an additional comparison of 6 information skills models

A sample INFORMATION SKILLS RATING SCALE document which may be used to assess how well students performed on the tasks associated with the Research Cycle . 

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An alternative detailed powerpoint rubric which could be adapted for children experienced with powerpoint presentations can be found at :

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Referencing has been compiled according to the Harvard System

Freeman, P. 2000, Pole to pole, Koala Books, Australia
displays stunning coloured plates and information about the diversity of animal life to be found in the polar regions
Loves, J. 1998, Discovering Antarctica: plants and animals, Macmillan Education Australia
describes the animals and plants able to co-exist in the harsh antarctic environment
Loves, J. 1998, Discovering Antarctica: the future, Macmillan Education Australia
discusses the conservation of living resources and the impact of tourism in Antarctica
Loves, J. 1999,Discovering Antarctica: people, Macmillan Education Australia
examines the role of explorers and scientific research workers in Antarctica up to the present day
Loves, J. 1998, Discovering Antarctica: the land, Macmillan Education Australia
provides geographical and geological information about Antarctica
Lye, K.  1984, Lets go to Antarctica, Franklin Watts, Sydney
one of a series describing the land and lives of our neighbours, simply written and accessible for all primary students
Markle, S. 1996, Pioneering frozen worlds, Atheneum Books, N.Y.
investigates and contrasts the polar regions through practical activities and simple science experiments
Rootes, D. 1989, People and places in peril: the arctic, Cherry Tree Books, London
reviews the people living in the world's most inaccessible regions, and efforts to prevent the destruction of their resources and way of life
Rootes, D. 1994, Exploration into the polar regions, Belitha Press, London
compares the history of the polar regions before and during exploration
Wheeler, S. 2000, Dear Daniel: letters from Antarctica, Hodder Children's Books, London
Sara Wheeler documents the story of her experiences during seven months living in Antarctica through letters and personal photographs sent to her godson Daniel
Young, K. R. 2000, Arctic investigations, Raintree Steck Vaughn, Texas
explores some of the challenges facing scientists studying the global ocean system and how it affects our planet and daily lives
Lane, 1998, Polar Connections: Exploring the World's Natural Laboratories, [online at] accessed September 15, 2001
creative, hands-on science and engineering activities centred around a polar theme. 
Mc Kenzie, J. 1999, From now on: the educational technology journal [online] (accessed September 19, 2000)
Armour, B. (n.d)A modified version of the Big6 strategy designed by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz of the University of Syracuse.
[online at] accessed September 23,2001

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