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  • Arctic and Antarctic
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  • This collection of lessons and web resources is aimed at classroom teachers, their students, and students’ families.

    Join Ken Golden on a Polar adventure as he explores the mathematics of what’s going on in sea ice

    Penguins ... and More

    Special Report

    penguins diving

    Penguins ... and MoreNSF manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, which coordinates U.S. scientific research on the southernmost continent and in the Antarctic Ocean. The U.S. Antarctic Program represents our nation in Antarctica. Carrying forward U.S. goals for supporting the Antarctic Treaty, the program strives to encourage international cooperation, maintain an active and influential presence in the region, and continue to conduct high-quality research, all while sustaining efficient use of funding.


    More classroom resources related to the Arctic and Antarctic

    Greenland Ice Sheet poster

    The Greenland Ice Sheet
    Resource: Educator, Students
    Learn about the Greenland Ice Sheet and the U.S. National Science Foundation's Summit Station, the only high-latitude, high-altitude, year-round research platform on the Greenland Ice Sheet.
    Image Credit: NSF

    Printable poster, 11 x 17 inches (1.8 MB)

    misfits penguin bookmarks

    History of the South Pole Stations
    Resource: Educator, Students
    Learn about the four U.S. Antarctic Program South Pole 'Stations' that have been erected at the bottom of the earth. Image Credit: NSF

    Printable poster, 24 x 36 inches (3.06 MB)
    DIY printable postcards, 5 total (9 MB)

    misfits penguin bookmarks

    Arctic and Antarctic bookmarks
    Resource: Educator, Students
    Download the latest polar animal bookmarks! Image Credit: NSF

    Misfit penguins of Antarctica bookmarks. These fun misfits Adélie penguins may look a bit different than their standard-colored friends, but the good news is that they are just as successful finding a mate.
    Color changing animals of the Arctic. Learn about unique Arctic animals that change their coloring in the summer and winter to better match their surroundings.

    polar coloring sheet

    Arctic and Antarctic coloring sheets
    Resource: Educator (grades K-5)
    Download the latest polar coloring sheets! Image Credit: NSF

    Arctic coloring sheets (musk ox, inuit kayak, seaplane)
    Antarctic coloring sheets (researcher in the field, South Pole Station, ceremonial South Pole)

    trading cards

    Timeline of the South Pole Telescopes
    Resource: Educator, Students
    The Office of Polar Programs is excited to share its Timeline of the South Pole Telescopes poster. Numerous telescopes over the years have found a home at the South Pole. With them, astronomers have peered deep into space and back in time. Image Credit: NSF

    Printable poster, 24 x 36 inches (4.9 MB)
    For web viewing
    (1.2 MB)

    trading cards

    Antarctic Animal Trading Cards and Arctic Animal Trading Cards
    Resource: Educator (grades K-5)
    The Office of Polar Programs has developed a set of 12 Antarctic and Arctic animal trading cards. These DIY cards can be easily printed and assembled, and feature illustrations and interesting facts of various well-known and not so well-known Antarctic and Arctic creatures. Image Credit: NSF

    artic ocean

    Resource: Educator, Students
    Join National Geographic explorer Jon Bowermaster as he and his team travel along the continent’s frozen coastline in “Antarctica, On The Edge” to expose just how important, and at risk, is the seventh continent. The adventurers explore by sea kayak, ice-worthy sailboat and on foot to gain an up-close look and attempt to better understand just how the seventh continent is changing -- and in some parts changing very fast -- in part due to a warming ocean. Meet scientists and the wildlife they study up-close and learn about the history of exploration and the continent’s future. Image Credit: Zhongyong GAO, Third Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration (SOA)

    lettuce field

    Resource: Educator (Grades 8-12)
    Learn about the study of phenology - the seasonal dynamics of plants and animals - in the Arctic to understand ecological impacts of climate change. There are opportunities for participation in teacher workshops that allow classrooms to join an ongoing Arctic research project focused on phenology. Image Credit: ©Blue River Technology

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    Athropolis Links
    Resource: Children (Elementary)
    Athropolis is a website devoted to informing children about the polar regions through games, puzzles, stories, songs, virtual library, etc. Imaginary characters and the story line are targeted toward elementary students. Very interesting and fun. Image Credit: Oliver Kreylos, UC-Davis KeckCAVES

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears
    Resource: Educator (grades K-5)
    This free online magazine connects the elementary school science and literacy curriculum to polar science. Professional development articles, lesson plans, images, formative assessment probes, a virtual bookshelf, researcher profiles, and books (in three formats) written for students in grades K-5 are found in each thematic issue. Image Credit: Daniel J. Cox/

    Cover image of graphic novel

    A mysterious disease in Antarctic fish
    Resource: Educator (grades K-8)
    This graphic novel takes the reader on a scientific expedition to Antarctica, where a mysterious disease is discovered that affect fish. Image Credit: Chloe DaMommio

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    Paleomap Project
    Resource: Educator (grades 6-12)
    This website provides information and maps on plate tectonics. Readers view paleographic maps of the Earth’s history and climate history to learn how our planet looked during various periods in time and the climatic changes that took place. The site also provides an opportunity to look into future up to 250 million years from now to view global changes. Teaching materials and software to activate animations are for sale on this site. Image Credit: Shutterstock/By Naeblys

    emperor penguins walking

    Penguin Science
    Resource: Educator (Grades K-8)
    Here you will find fun and educational activities to help students learn about Adelie Penguin life, history and their relationship to climate change. Students can check the nests of penguins as they raise the chicks (from Oct-Jan), receive a postcard from Antarctica, or send in a flag to fly! There are limited opportunities to schedule a video conference for K-8 classrooms with the scientists in Antarctica between October and January. Image Credit: Mike Usher

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    Resource: Educator (Grades 6-8)
    A program designed to connect scientists, educators and students using data and research from the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Designed for middle-school students, teachers have an opportunity to implement polar science modules in their classrooms and connect with scientists in the Arctic and Antarctic.
    NSF award PLR 1525635 Image Credit: Robin Solfisburg

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    NOVA: Polar Extremes
    Resource: Educator (grades: 6-8, 9-12 )
    This NOVA polar collection of polar science resources includes a wealth of information about the polar regions. Learn about the Arctic, the Antarctic, and why scientists are so interested in studying Earth’s polar regions. Image Credit: Janice O’Reilly

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    Polar STEAM
    Resource: Educator (Grades K-12); Artists and Writers
    Polar STEAM integrates two long-standing programs: the Polar Educators program (PolarTREC) and the Antarctic Artists & Writers program. Participants in Polar STEAM are supported in their creative, scientific, and educational practices as they develop and share creative works and educational resources that engage learners of all ages in understanding the critical global importance of polar environments and the people who call these regions home. Image Credit: Jonathan Nichols, Brown University

    tents in antartic

    Resource: Educator (grades K-5)
    This website is divided into four unique sites: Polar Foundation (corporate), SciencePoles (scientific), EducaPoles (education), and ExploraPoles (adventure) and provides information on the Artic and Antartic for everyone. Image Credit: Vasilii Petrenko

    emperor penguins approaching a tent

    The Antarctic Sun
    Resource: Educator (grades 6-12)
    The Antarctic Sun is a publication posted on the website at McMurdo Station in Antarctica for the United States Antarctic Program. It provides information about the inhabitants (human and animal), the geographical location and scientific projects on and under the ice in Antarctica. Image Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF