Friday, October 2, 2015

Longer Videos about Antarctica

If you have some time on this rainy weekend to check out some longer videos about Antarctica, here are a few good choices:

Watch Penguin spy in the huddle s01e01 in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Monday, September 28, 2015

Even More Antarctica!

Here are some resources to help you in your research. Remember that you should have in your mind this question: Why do people go to Antarctica?

The High Rock Media Center has several databases that might help you: Check the brochure you received for logins and passwords.

Deception Island's derelict hangar: Its inhabitants fled after a series of volcanic eruptions in the Sixties
This article looks into the abandon research camps and "ghost towns" of Antarctica.

National Geographic Antarctica Interactive Map 

Check out this video all about Antarctic tourism:

Story of a Russian ship that got stuck in Antarctic ice a couple years ago

Here's a cool virtual 3D tour of Robert Scott's ship, the RRS Discovery

Race to the South Pole-- An article from the BBC about the historical quest to be the first to reach the South Pole
Robert Scott and crew

Look at this "old-school" video about the race to the South Pole in the early 1900s!

From The Boston Globe comes a story about a marathon in Antarctica-
A marathon in Antarctica, truly a one-of-a-kind vacation

From The Boston Globe

The issue of global climate change/global warming and of melting polar ice has been in the news for  while:

Antarctica Info and Videos

Our next class project will involve a mini research essay on the frozen continent of Antarctica. We will take information from several sources to understand why people travel to such a harsh place.

 Read this brief introductory article to start off:
KidInfoBits: Antarctica

Here's a great website for exploring Antarctica more in detail:
Polar Discovery from the Woods Hole Institute

And here's another great website for exploring information about Antarctica from the National Science Foundation:
NSF in the Antarctica

And of course, there needs to be a video from Tim and Moby of BrainPop!
BrainPop: South Pole

Check out this website of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, the organization that helps make sure Antarctica is kept safe and peaceful for scientific research:
ATS - Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty

Time For Kids has a great site about Antarctica that includes articles, pictures, news stories, and videos to explore:
Time For Kids: Antarctica

Here's a few interesting videos about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean from National Geographic:

This video from National Geographic may not play on an iPad--Try your desktop computer.

Here is a brief summary of the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959

Here's a video called "Destination Antarctica

This is a great show called Race to the South Pole, about Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott both trying to be the first explorers to reach the South Pole in 1912.

Here's a travel video focusing on the sights of Antarctica

And here's a video tour of the South Pole research station!

And just for fun, here's a preview of the PBS show about penguins and the robot camera in a penguin/furbie suit
Here's a cool article from the BBC about a scientist that is using a hot water drill to look for life in a lake that is more than 3km UNDER the ice.

Antarctic lake mission targets life and climate signs
 By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News

Weather at the site can be stormy, requiring protection for people and gear

Related Stories
    •    Map tracks Antarctica on the move
    •    Ice loss quickens, raising seas
    •    Clue to ancient Antarctic seaway

A pioneering British expedition to sample a lake under the Antarctic ice hopes to find unknown forms of life and clues to future climate impacts.

The mission will use hot water to melt its way through ice 3km (2 miles) thick to reach Lake Ellsworth, which has been isolated from the outside world for at least 125,000 years - maybe a million.

The team hopes to be the first to sample a sub-glacial Antarctic lake.
An engineering team leaves the UK later this week along with 70 tonnes of gear.

The project, funded to the tune of £7m by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council, aims to obtain samples of the lake water itself and of sediment on the lake floor.

 The heavy equipment has to be airlifted in to Antarctica, followed by a long trek over land

"Our project will look for life in Lake Ellsworth, and look for the climate record of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet," said the project's principal investigator Professor Martin Siegert from Edinburgh University.

"If we're successful, we'll make profound discoveries on both the limits to life on Earth and the history of West Antarctica," he told BBC News.

Understanding the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is crucial to forecasting future climate change impacts, as it holds enough ice to raise sea levels globally by at least 3m (10ft) and perhaps 7m (23ft).

Exploring sub-glacial lakes may also help scientists design missions to search for life on other worlds such as Jupiter's moon Europa, which is thought to feature a liquid ocean beneath a thick layer of ice.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

1. A hot water drill will melt through the frozen ice sheet, which is up to 3km (2 miles) thick. After drilling, they will have an estimated 24 hours to collect samples before the borehole re-freezes

2. A probe will be lowered through the borehole to capture water samples

3. A specialised corer will then recover sediment from the floor of the lake through the same borehole

Source: Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Consortium

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Make Your Own Country" Map Project

You will become a cartographer for the next couple of days. Your job is to imagine a country and create a map of the place. As always, you are expected to do your best work and follow the directions. Please see Mr. Guerriero if you have any questions at all, if you want some help, or if you want to see the examples of finished maps!

Check the student Atlas or the box of National Geographic maps in the classroom for inspiration and ideas of what to put on your map. Remember, the goal is to SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW about how maps give information, not just to make it look pretty!

The map includes the following required items.
(Each item is worth 3 points)
  • Map Key (Legend) with at least 10 items
  • Colors or Shading using colored pencils
  • Map Scale with metric measurements
  • Compass Rose
  • Symbols
  • Grid Lines (drawn or folded on)
  • Title
  • Labels of at least 10 places
Challenge: Your map must include 2 additional items from this list.
(Each item is worth 2 points. You may put more than 2 of these.)
  • Chart (population density, etc.)
  • Relief lines (showing elevation, or how high or low the land is)
  • Inset map (a smaller map set into the larger one)
  • Graphics
  • Border Lines
  • Captions
  • Heights/Depths
  • Other: _________________________
Neatness and professionalism are important as well.
(Each item is worth 1 point)
  • Student’s name and block are on the back
  • Student completes a rough draft first
  • All lines are drawn using a ruler
  • Coloring is neat and carefully done
  • Labels are neatly written and spelled correctly
  • Map is handed in by Wednesday, September 30th.

Total Score: _______/ 34

In class, we used J. R. R. Tolkein's maps of the Lord of the Rings series for inspiration of how to map imaginary places. Here is our art teacher, Mrs. Krantz's, slideshow of some mapmaking techniques. Check out the links at the end as well.

Mrs. Krantz's Map Inspiration Slide Show

Check out this aweseme interactive map from The Hobbit's world of Middle Earth:

Also, here is a CHEEZ-TASTIC explanation of how highway maps were made back in the 1940s. How has map making changed since then?


Here is an interesting interview with an artist who redrew the maps for the Lord of the Rings series:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Latitude and Longitude Skills

This week in Social Studies class, we're looking at using lines of latitude and longitude to find locations on earth. Using a map to find locations, there are a few points to keep in mind:

LATITUDE lines are HORIZONTAL and measure how far NORTH or SOUTH a place is.

Latitude lines are also called parallels.

LONGITUDE lines are VERTICAL and measure how far EAST or WEST a place is.

Longitude lines are also called meridians.

When you write the coordinates of a specific place the latitude number goes first, followed by the longitude number.

Latitude and longitude points are measured in degrees. This is because our earth is round and there are 360 degrees in a circle!

If you were trying to locate the city of Boston, you would say that it lies at (42°N, 71°W). This means that Boston is 42 degrees north of the equator, and 71 degrees west of the Prime Meridian.

Tim and Moby explain latitude and longitude in a video on BrainPop--Check it out by clicking here. If you don't remember the Needham login and password, ask me during class.

Here's a CHEEZ-TASTIC video from the 1970s!

Geography Unit Vocabulary

In class today and yesterday, we wrote down the definitions of our Geography Unit vocabulary terms. Your job will be to make flash cards to study for the vocab test on Friday 9/25.

The study of the earth, its physical features, and how human activity affects it

A person who makes and studies maps

A flat representation of a certain area of earth’s surface

A spherical representation of the earth
(extremely accurate)

A half of a sphere--cartographers divide the earth into the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Hemispheres

map scale
A tool that shows the relationship between distances on a map and distances in real life

lines of latitude
Imaginary lines that run horizontally and are used to locate places on earth
(also called parallels)
(measure how far North or South)

lines of longitude
Imaginary lines that run vertically and are used to locate places on earth
(also called meridians)
(measure how far East or West)

The line of latitude at 0 degrees that divides the earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres

prime meridian
The line of longitude at 0 degrees that divides the earth into Eastern and Western Hemispheres
(starts at Greenwich, England)

North Pole
The northernmost point on earth, located at 90 degrees North latitude

South Pole
The southernmost point on earth, located at 90 degrees South latitude