Unlike previous LEARNZ field trips to Antarctica LEARNZ will be filming this field trip in December 2019 and sharing it in May 2020. This means you can travel further away from Scott Base virtually, to work with penguin biologists during the breeding season.

Your Antarctic adventure will involve remote field work away from the comforts of New Zealand's Scott Base. You will stay in a small isolated hut at Cape Bird on Ross Island where your only connection with the outside world will be via radio communication with Scott Base. In May you will reconnect with these scientists to discover more about penguin behaviour and how changing conditions are affecting this population. This asynchronous field trip in May 2020 will allow students to see how scientists live and work in a remote area of Antarctica, while still being able to ask questions during live web conferences.

Your virtual journey will start on a Hercules aircraft landing on glacial ice in McMurdo Sound. On leaving the plane you will have to adjust to the brightness of a white landscape and an air temperature well below 0 degrees Celsius. When explorer James Ross sailed into the Ross Sea in 1841, he expected to find a frozen desert. He didn't expect to see seals, whales, fish, penguins and seabirds. How could this be? Where did these creatures find their food? On this trip you will join a New Zealand science team monitoring the Adélie penguin population. This research will help inform decisions on how to manage the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area. This area is one of the most pristine environments in the world, so it is the perfect place for scientists to observe the natural behaviours of species such as Adélie penguins. You will help scientists measure the weight of Adélie penguins, monitor nests and GPS tag birds to record foraging behaviour. This research aims to understand and forecast Adélie penguin population changes in response to a range of marine management and climate change scenarios.

Before flying by helicopter out to Cape Bird you will spend time at Scott Base learning how to survive in the harsh Antarctic environment.

This will be the 15th LEARNZ field trip to Antarctica. The opportunities for student involvement and interaction during this trip will ensure their learning is very real.

Teachers can sign up an ambassador for this field trip via MyLEARNZ now so they can travel to Antarctica during the December part of the field trip.

In preparation for this field trip you will learn about:

  • Marine science in Antarctica
  • The Ross Sea Marine Protected Area
  • Adélie penguin behaviour and their importance as an indicator species
  • The role of sea ice in the Antarctic marine ecosystem
  • Antarctica as a place for scientific research
  • Penguin ecology and animal welfare
  • Maintaining biosecurity in Antarctica
  • Minimising human impacts in Antarctica
  • The importance of Antarctic science in helping us understand our dynamic world
  • Antarctic food webs
  • Climate Change and Antarctica

During the field trip you will:

  • See Shelley's tweets on twitter
  • Travel to Antarctica aboard a Hercules aircraft
  • Complete a survival training course
  • Take a helicopter flight out to Cape Bird at the northern end of Ross Island
  • See the home of 60,000 Adélie penguins
  • Weigh Adélie penguins
  • Measure the growth of Adélie penguin chicks
  • Band the flippers of Adélie penguin chicks
  • Help place GPS tags on penguins
  • Record foraging trips of penguins
  • Monitor penguin and skua behaviour

Learning Areas/Levels

Health and Physical Education: Personal Health and Physical Development Levels 2-4, Relationships with Other People Levels 2-4, Healthy Communities and Environments Levels 2-4;
Science: Nature of Science Levels 2-4, Material World Levels 2-4, Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-4, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8;
Social Sciences: Geography Level 6; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-5, Continuity and Change Levels 2-5

For more information about the field trip and to register, please visit: http://rata.learnz.org.nz/summary.php?vft=antarctica202

Related content

For more check out the Hub’s Antarctica resources, including the articles:

Then head over to the Antarctica topic for even more.

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