You’ve Got a Friend (And a Penguin Named Kiwi) In Me

    As a PolarTREC teacher, one of my primary duties throughout the entire experience, but particularly out in the field, is to convey the scientific nature and explanations of my observations and engage in a dialogue with various audiences to hopefully cultivate a curiosity and spark an interest in polar science. Although I have developed activities and am prepared to speak to high school students, I would like to make a concerted effort to reach elementary-aged students. In that vein, I wanted to speak to elementary students in my journal entries through two fictional characters. Since I can’t draw stick figures and lack an artistic flair for anything, I reached out to Fashion Design students at my high school to help me not only design the characters but also to create “dolls” of the two characters.

    It all began with the help of another high school student who started the process with sketches of what I was envisioning for the two characters. I provided her with an overview of the purpose and fundamental features that would depict the two characters. She later responded with a colored diagram of the two characters – one was a little girl who was an explorer type and interested in everything polar and the other was a little boy penguin who would serve as her ever-inquisitive sidekick.

    Character sketch
    Sketch of the two fictional characters.

    I then gave this diagram to the Fashion Design students who, after I had the chance to speak with them, engaged in a very deliberate process that began with a full-length sketch of the two characters, followed by a detailed identification of possible textile materials that might be used to create cold weather gear. They then went to work using doll models to develop the clothing and features of the two characters.

    Sketch of two characters
    Full-length sketch of the two characters with labeled attire.

    Clothing samples
    Poster of material samples for polar clothing.

    The last, and probably most important thing left, was to name the two characters. Since this was a student-driven effort, I let the students decide. The two classes, Physics students and Fashion Design students, put it to a vote and the winning names were: Anastasia for the girl doll and Kiwi for the boy penguin.

    Girl doll
    Introducing the completed girl doll – Anastasia!

    Boy penguin doll
    Introducing the completed boy penguin doll – Kiwi!

    Collage of characters
    A picture collage of Anastasia and Kiwi.

    Be watching for them in future blog posts.

    Coming up next: When travellng to Antarctica, it is vitally important to look and dress the part. In my next journal entry, what it is like to dress for summer in Antarctica!

    Pavilions Hotel
    Weather Summary
    Fair and Cool
    22 degrees Celsius
    Wind Speed
    18 km/hr E
    Wind Chill
    23 degrees Celsius


    Janet Warburton

    Hi George,
    Great to see that you are on your way! I saw that you might have actually landed on the ice! Can't wait to see your next journal.