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The Sheer Beauty of the Place

data | hook | main | background & resources | student

Author Contact Information

Larry Rose, Pleasanton Middle School, Pleasanton,California.

Overview This lesson is designed to spark interest and hold it in all things polar through art and language expression. We hope this will lead to a fascination with the place; and then to mature decisions with respect to environmental issues such as conservation and ecological concerns, the possible collapse of the ice sheet, the renewal of the Antarctic Treaty, and destruction of ozone and change of world weather patterns.

Students will be directed to pour over the Glacier web page running into all of the resources there about polar matters. They will become intimate with the experiences of the TEAs, learn much of the factual information on the site, and become familiar with all of the other resources thereon and on other web pages.


  • Students will increase their skills with the Internet.

  • Students will use and increase their knowledge of presentation skills in visual and language media through the student products they will generate including graphic arts projects, language arts projects, web pages and Powerpoint productions.

    Grade Level/Discipline
    4-12, Earth Science, Art, Language Arts

    National Standards

  • technology
  • science as a human endeavor
  • presentation/communication

    Pre-activity set-up
    The teacher should provide the above materials and access to the internet especially the Glacier webpage at ../../. The teacher should preview videos to be used in this work and select a five minute segment from one or more of them which especially shows the beauty of Antarctica.


  • a video or books with beautiful scenes of Antarctica (see Resources for suggestions)
  • art supplies
  • poster paper
  • access to the internet
  • Powerpoint or other "slide show" computer applications package (optional)
  • other printed materials with pictures of the Polar regions.

    Time Frame
    Variable depending on access to the internet. Also class time may be allotted to the producing the final product or it may be designated as a medium to long-term project to be done primarily at home.

    Engagement and Exploration (Student Inquiry Activity
    The teacher will introduce this lesson as the culminating lesson in Polar studies or as its very introduction. The goal of the teacher should be to inspire the students with an appreciation of the beauty of the polar regions. Showing videos is a good way to do this. (See Resources section for a beginning list of video resources on Antarctica.) During the showing of the video, the students should be actively engaged, they must have an assignment, a task to complete.

    For example, the teacher will find a five minute segment in the video which is parcticularly beautiful. Show this segment without sound several times. Have the students write a narration for this short segment. Poetry is to be encouraged. Have volunteers read their narration while the video is playing. Eventually the teacher will play the chosen segment with the original sound. The students will contrast their written work with that of the video's writers.

    An alternative would be to show the five minute segment having the students individually or in small groups list as many nouns and modifiers as they can. Compile a super list on the board which can help with their writing for the assignment.

    Explanation (Discussing)
    The teacher should challenge any misconceptions on the part of the students and can now share current weather conditions (http:// ____ ), if possible, using the student observations to illustrate the daunting conditions of living and working in Antarctica. In spite of the human discomfort, almost all explorers and scientists who have ventured there have written of the sheer beauty of the place (http://____).

    At this point give the assignment. The assignment is to produce a work of art, a poster, painting, web page, Powerpoint presentation (etc.) entitled "The Sheer Beauty of the Place". The completed work may include all or a few of the following components at the teacher's discretion:

  • a student made drawing
  • a collage of photos
  • a student essay on beauty in polar regions
  • a poem expressing the beauty of polar regions
  • quotations from explorers or others on the beauty they found in polar regions
  • any other means of expressing the student's relationship with the esthetics of exploration of, research in, or the experience of the polar regions.

    The student work will be presented by the student to the class.

    Elaboration (Polar Applications)
    Internet work -At this point introduce resources to the students which they will find most useful especially the Glacier web page http://glacier.rice.edu. Show them how to navigate the page to reach the TEAs' journals. (../../tea_meetteachers.html) Show them how to contact the TEAs though email. Demonstrate the many resources on this page for their use. Another very useful resource is the web page to be found at www.south-pole.com (Antarctic Philately).

    Exchange (Students Draw Conclusions)

    Evaluation (Assessing Student Performance)
    Have the students show their work in progress or their final work to the class. Encourage comment in the form of constructive criticism by the students. An art show juried by the students is an effective way in which they may learn from other student's work and is a good step towards evaluation by peers and by the teacher.

    data | hook | main | background & resources | student