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Ministry of Education.
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"Science on the Ice", School Journal, level 4, November 2018

11 November 2018

The first two pages of science on the ice. A large photo of a snow vehicle pulling luggage through the snow.

In this report, Neil Silverwood, a photographer, describes his trip to Antarctica to document the set-up for a science project, starting with a deep-field traverse.

You can find the article and the teaching notes here: Science on the Ice, School Journal, level 4, November 2018

Other useful resources

Antarctica – cool science in action  

Watch the videos of the LEARNZ field trip to Antarctica to see further examples of accommodation, equipment, and clothing used in Antarctica.

Historical Cold Weather Clothing Evolution to the Modern Form

Effective modern cold weather clothing took a long time to develop and was informed by many knowledge disciplines

Arrival at the Pole by tractor

Sir Edmund Hillary, Derek Wright, and Murray Ellis arriving at the South Pole in their Ferguson tractors on 20 January 1958.

Edmund Hillary's tractor to be put on view

A tractor is on display at Christchurch Commodore Hotel

Arrival at the Pole by tractor

Sir Edmund Hillary and his New Zealand party reached the South Pole. They were the first to do so overland since Scott in 1912, and the first to reach it in motor vehicles. Dogs were also used for transporting goods.

Remembering New Zealand’s Antarctic pioneers   

Lynn Freeman talks to David Ellis, whose father was Murray Ellis, (an engineer who looked after the tractors) as well as Graham Ayres who was a boy when his mountaineer father, Harry Ayres, joined Sir Ed Hillary on his polar expedition.

Discussion questions

These could include:

  • Identify the clothing items, equipment, and machinery used now and in the past on an antarctic expedition?
    Which of the human senses are most challenged in antarctic conditions? How have some of the developments in clothing items, equipment, and machinery allowed humans to endure these conditions safely, travel further distances, and survive for longer periods of time?
  • Identify knowledge bases other than technology (for example, history, science) that have helped technologists develop clothing, machinery, and equipment that allows humans to endure these conditions safely and for longer periods of time nowadays?
  • Sir Edmund Hillary and his expedition used modified Massey Ferguson tractors. What were Massey Ferguson tractors used for in New Zealand prior to this expedition? Was this a successful use of the tractors for purposes other than what they were originally designed for?

Indicators of progression for discussion starters

Component Indicator Level
Characteristics of technology
  • identify examples where technology has changed people’s sensory perception and/or physical abilities and discuss the potential short and long term impacts of these
  • identify and categorise knowledge and skills from technology and other disciplines that have informed decisions in technological development and manufacture
Characteristics of technological outcomes
  • explain how technological outcomes have been successfully used by end-users for purposes other than what they were originally designed for

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