Dive in and learn more about life sciences at the polar regions.
Dive in and learn more about life sciences at the polar regions.

Welcome to the Life Science Collection, a library of resources for educators and the public interested in learning more about organisms in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The field of life science includes but is not limited to understanding organisms, their organization, life processes, and relationships to each other and their environment.

The Collection includes individual activities, lesson plans, journal entries, videos, and presentations that will educate the next generation about this complex field of study. All materials are created and compiled by world-class educators participating in authentic scientific research in the polar regions through PolarTREC expeditions.

The Life Science Collection is utilized as class material in the Cyber-based Interdisciplinary Science Education Professional Development Courses offered through the University of Alaska- Fairbanks in conjunction with PolarTREC. The collection is funded by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States and the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs.

National Science Foundation Arctic Research Consortium of the United States University of Alaska- Fairbanks


Life Science Resources
Displaying 1 - 25 of 208

Overview

This lesson focuses on adaptations as a driving force in evolutionary diversity. Adaptations are characteristics within a species that enhance its chances of survival and reproduction. Adaptations can be behavioral, structural, or functional.

Lesson
Antarctic
About 1 period
High school and Up
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The attached PDF contains 5 different lessons and lab activities for high school earth science, environmental science and biology classes. The focus is on permafrost and related topics including the earth’s carbon cycle, the greenhouse effect, climate change, and aqueous geochemistry.

Lesson
Arctic
More than a week
High school and Up
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Televicentro de Puerto Rico (WAPA-TV channel 4) live television interview with Alba Nydia Díaz and Armando Caussade. This resource is in Spanish.

Web Link
Antarctic
All Aged

Overview

PolarTREC teacher Andrea Skloss’ lesson was inspired by her Chukchi Sea Ecosystem Study aboard the USCGC Healy. In order to understand why this area is a biological hot spot of productivity, scientists must study components such as the trophic levels and more.

Lesson
Arctic
About a week
Middle School and Up
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Overview

In this set of lessons, students have the opportunity to think like scientists as they examine actual data related to Arctic ground squirrels, organize it in logical ways, and make inferences based on the data.

Lesson
Arctic
About a week
Elementary and Up
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This PowerPoint presentation could be used as part of an introductory or supplementary unit on Antarctica. The presentation includes stunning visuals and general facts about Antarctica.

Presentation
Antarctic
Middle School and Up
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Overview

Students create a life size model of a bowhead whale based on information they have collected.

Objective

Students will be able to organize specific technical information from a variety of resources to develop a "blue print" or pattern to create a life size model of a bowhead whale.

Lesson
Arctic
More than a week
Middle School and Up
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Overview

Students complete a physical puzzle based on a scientific poster about Bowhead Whales. Students then research the content of the poster and present their findings.

Objective

To familiarize students with:

Activity
Arctic
Less than 1 period
Middle School and Up
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Overview

This lesson was written for a Photography I course, to be taught in a lab with access to either a darkroom or computers/printers. The class has already spent ample time getting used to the basics of photography, learning to use their cameras as a creative tool, just as a painter might use a brush.

Lesson
Arctic
More than a week
High school and Up
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Overview

In this introductory lesson, students read an article about Arctic Ocean ecosystems and then play a board game in which they take on the role of researchers.

Objectives

The purpose of this introductory activity is to:

Activity
Arctic
Less than a week
Middle School and Up
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Overview

Students are designated as the water or ocean currents, zooplankton, and bowhead whales. The zooplankton are informed that they are at the mercy of the currents. The currents are given instructions as to where to go during different times of the year (map).

Activity
Arctic
About 1 period
Middle School and Up
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Overview

Antarctica is the coldest, driest place on Earth with a fairly limited number of native species which have adapted to these extreme conditions over millions of years. As a result, it's not very likely that a non-native species would survive there . . . right?

Lesson
Antarctic
About a week
High school and Up
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Researcher Egbert Schwartz and PolarTREC teacher Justin Kendhammer will travel to the Dry Valleys of Antarctica in search of life in the seemingly barren soil. One of the questions they will attempt to answer is whether microbes in the soil are native to Antarctic soil or whether they have been blown onto the continent from elsewhere in the world.

Article
Antarctic
All Aged
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PolarTREC alumni Alex Eilers created this mini-exhibit about Antarctica for the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The exhibit highlights a variety of topics as well as Ms. Eilers personal experiences in Antarctica.

Presentation
Antarctic
All Aged
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This one hour webinar with PolarTREC teacher Lisa Seff shares ideas and experiences on bringing polar science into your classroom and community. Her work focuses on the oceanographic conditions of bowhead whale habitat.

Event
Arctic
About 1 period

This one hour webinar is designed for educators as polar professional development. Dr. Okkonen details his work on the project studying bowhead whales and oceanographic conditions in their environment.

Event
Arctic
About 1 period

Overview

We want students to develop the habits, traits, and qualities of effective scientists. What better way for them to learn what these traits are than by hearing from actual scientists?

Lesson
Arctic
About 1 period
Elementary and Up
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Satellite observations of circulation features associated with a bowhead whale feeding ‘hotspot’ near Barrow, Alaska. Remote Sensing of Environment. 115:2168-2174
Okkonen, S.R., C. Ashjian, R.G. Campbell, J.T. Clarke, S.E. Moore, and K.D. Taylor. 2011.

Alaska Marine Mammal Stock Assessments, 2012

Article
Arctic
High school and Up
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This blog documents the process of creating a 25-minute animated film at the University of Alaska Museum of the North that tells the story of bowhead whale annual migration in the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The film takes its basic narrative and title from the 2013 calendar edited by Steve Okkonen, A Year in the Life of Bowhead Whales.

Related Program
Arctic

The life of the bowhead whales calendar is a teaching tool created by Dr. Steve Okkonen and colleagues to portray science and natural history of bowhead whales in a compelling form. The calendar is available as a PDF and in poster PDF forms.

Related Program
Arctic

Port Aransas teachers set off to study ecosystems in the Arctic...one in the Chukchi Sea and the other at Kaktovic.

Article
Arctic
All Aged

The Center for Microbial Oceanography offers resources on education and outreach for K-12 teachers, undergraduates, grads & post-docs and related links. This is a great tool for lesson planning. In addition to outreach ideas, C-MORE offers kits for review and request.

Web Link
Arctic
High school and Up

One of the simplest biological samplers, zooplankton nets are made in a wide variety of styles and sizes. The two nets in the MARMAP Bongo vertical-haul net system explained here each have a mouth diameter of about 25 cm.

Web Link
Arctic
Middle School and Up

What is it and why do we use it? An Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, or Acoustic Doppler Profiler, is often referred to with the acronym ADCP. Scientists use the instrument to measure how fast water is moving across an entire water column. An ADCP anchored to the seafloor can measure current speed not just at the bottom, but also at equal intervals all the way up to the surface.

Web Link
Arctic
High school and Up

This short video from national geographic introduces viewers to the biology of a bowhead whale.

Web Link
All Aged