What are PolarTREC Learning Resources?

PolarTREC Learning Resources are a collection of scientific and educational materials compiled by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), and made available to anyone who is interested in teaching or learning more about the science of the Arctic and Antarctica.

Cover for Albedo Lesson.
Cover for Albedo Lesson.

What is a resource, and what types of resources are available?

Any resource on this website can help you teach or learn more about Polar science. Each resource has key details that will help you decide if it is appropriate for you and your learners. PolarTREC Learning Resources are categorized under the following headings:

  • Article: A piece of writing focused on a theme or themes, which may have come from a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or other publication. Articles may include newspaper articles, scientific reports, essays, and stories.
  • Lesson: A description, outline, or step-by-step instructions providing a structured approach to teaching a topic including objectives for learning and strategies for preparation, presentation, and evaluation. Lessons are intended primarily for educators and also contain information on national and some state standards.
  • Activity: An interactive exercise that actively engages learners. Activities may include educational games, experiments, demonstrations, and arts and crafts.
  • Presentation:A collection of pictures and information in a formal arrangement used as a visual educational tool. Presentations generally are themed power point presentations.
  • Audio: An audio file. Audio files may include interviews, sound clips, or commentary.
  • Video: A file with both audio and visual components. Video files may include short movies, shows, video clips, interviews, or illustrations.
  • Weblink: A link to a website on the World Wide Web which provides valuable information, resources, or classroom activities.

Where do resources come from?

PolarTREC Learning Resources are reviewed and compiled by ARCUS, but created by formal and informal educators, writers, researchers, producers, and students around the world. Many of the Learning Resources you will find here have been created and submitted by past PolarTREC and TREC Teachers, however, anyone is free to submit resources to our collection. If you are interested in submitting your Polar education resources please contact info [at] polartrec.com for a template and instructions. Each resource cites the creator and there are three permission options for resource use and sharing:

  • Download: Viewer will be able to download the submission and use it in its original form.
  • Download and share: Viewer may download the submission, use it as needed, and share with others.
  • Download share and remix: Viewer may download the submission, use it as needed, share it with others, and change components to suit their needs. Additional changed versions of the submission can be resubmitted to the Learning Resources.
  • n/a: Permission is not needed or applicable for this submission.

How do I find a resource?

From the PolarTREC Learning Resources home page you can search for lessons two ways:

  • Browse by Topic: Browse the list of subject areas topics and subtopics. When resources exist within a subtopic, a number in parentheses will denote the quantity.
  • Browse all Resources: View all resources, and use the tabs to sort by grade, type, or title to find a resource to suit you or your learners needs.
  • Search: Use the search function to find learning resources that meet your needs for specific topics, grade, resource types, etc.

How are resources organized?

Whenever you browse or search within Learning Resources, the result will be a resource list. For each resource you will find a descriptive title and details including: resource type, region it pertains to, and permission level. You can also use the tabs at the top of the resource list to sort your search options by grade level, type, or alphabetically by title.

Grade Level

  • All Ages: This resource is adequate for all ages.
  • Elementary and up: This resource is intended for elementary students, but may be used or modified for an older audience.
  • Middle School and up: This resource is intended for middle school students, but may be used or modified for an older audience.
  • High School and up: This resource is intended for high school students, but may be used or modified for an older audience.


  • Arctic: This resource relates to the research, science, people, or expeditions in the Arctic region.
  • Antarctic: This resource relates to the research, science, peoplee, or expeditions in the Antarctic region.

Do I need any special software to use the resources?

Resources in web format can be viewed in a typical web browser like the one you are using now. If a resource requires a special plug-in, the web format listing will explain what you need.

To view resources in print format, you’ll need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is free. You can learn more about it, and download a copy for your personal use, at the Adobe Website.

Questions or comments?

If you have questions or comments regarding the PolarTREC learning resources, please do not hesitate to contact us at info [at] polartrec.com.