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Exploring the Arctic

During this live lesson, students will learn about the Arctic, with a special focus on sea ice. The lesson will be hosted by Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop who was part of an expedition team that spent weeks living on the sea ice at temperatures down to minus 48°C (minus 54°F). Jamie will share a little about what it was like to live and work in such extreme conditions as well as working through two activities that relate to the team’s study of Arctic sea ice. The lesson will close with Jamie answering as many of the students’ Arctic questions as possible.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AXA Arctic Live 2021 live lessons will be delivered as a virtual event, with speakers joining from where they are, rather than from the UK's Arctic Research Station.

Broadcast on Mon 14 Jun 2021
  • 45 mins
  • Ages 7-11
Curriculum Links

Key stage 2 Science

  • Explore the requirements of plants for life and growth
  • Recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things
  • Make systematic and careful observations
  • Set up simple practical enquiries

Key stage 2 Geography

  • Develop knowledge of globally significant marine places as well as the polar regions

If you have never joined a live lesson before, see the guidance hub, where you will find technical and educational support.

This live lesson is based around two activities, How holey is ice? and Polar photosynthesis, both part of the Frozen Oceans STEAM activity collection.

The lesson assumes no prior knowledge of the Arctic, but students may find it useful to have worked through a preparatory lesson.

Questions generated by your class can be submitted via the Encounter Live tab in your Encounter Edu profile.

Session steps

1. Introduction (10 mins)

Jamie will open the lesson with a welcome to the amazing Arctic.

2. Holey ice activity (5 mins)

This activity looks at the nature of sea ice compared to ice made from freshwater. This lays an important foundation for the next activity, that looks at what life might grow in the ice.

3. Polar photosynthesis activity (15 mins)

While students at key stage 2 may not be familiar with the process of photosynthesis, they will cover what plants require for life and growth. These requirements are no different for algae in the Arctic sea ice, to flowers in a garden or crops in a field. Students will be set a challenge to work out which ‘ice core samples’ come from which seasonal conditions.

4. Q&A and conclusion (15 mins)

After completing the activity Jamie will be able to answer pre-submitted questions and take part in the live chat. At the end of the broadcast, Jamie will suggest some other activities you might like to try and what's coming up in the rest of Arctic Live 2021.

Free access for Teacher Plus subscribers

Free access to this live lesson is supported by AXA as part of their Action+ programme. Use the coupon code ILOVETHEARCTIC to receive free access to this lesson, and then email us with the action that you have taken:



AL2020 Speaker Jamie

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop

Executive Director, Encounter Edu

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