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.
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.
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.
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!