Resource Type
Completion Time
Less than a week
All Aged
Download and Share
Elizabeth Eubanks
Polar Scientist worksheet
Computer with Internet access
SMART board or Interactive white board would be helpful but not required
Environmental Studies
Polar Science
Polar Careers
General Environmental Studies
General Polar Science
General Polar Careers


Elizabeth Eubanks PolarTREC teacher 2008 – Arctic Tundra Dynamics created this lesson to introduce her students to a wide variety of polar scientists and their research. Students will use the PolarTREC and other websites to learn about the various research projects that are going on at the poles. After students have tracked 10 polar scientists they are then asked questions which will further generate an understanding of their own perspectives of polar science.


Students will learn about current polar scientists and their research. They will determine their personal views of polar science as a career.


Teachers should have some basic knowledge of the PolarTREC web site and how to find information on the polar scientists. Teachers should also research other websites to obtain similar information in order to complete the worksheet. On the worksheet I have also added a space to investigate tropical research projects in order to compare projects at the poles to projects a) in a different location and b) in a location that we live in. ** My students live in tropical Florida – this step may be adjusted for your own location.

Since this is an introduction to polar science, content previously studied is not needed. However, students should have knowledge of Internet use and how to do a basic search. They should also know what the scientific method is.


Present the attached worksheet to students, have them review it and then review it with them.

  1. Explain the objective of the lesson – to learn about polar scientists and research being done in the Arctic and Antarctic, while defining their thoughts of polar science, utilizing technology and comparing tropical research (or local) projects.

  2. Teacher introduces – or reintroduces the PolarTREC site to students. As a group students view and select an arctic project they are interested in. They click the project overview and record the scientist(s) name and add it to the first column.

  3. Students find the institution or organization the person is affiliated with. Discuss the meaning of this, ie. they may work for a college or organization which is supporting them to do research or they may be graduate or undergraduate students.

  4. Record contact information; this may be an email address or street address. On the PolarTREC website click on the scientist's name. Students can be encouraged to contact the scientist for extra credit or further knowledge.

  5. Record the title of the project and then a brief description of the research. Students should put this in their own words and it should be brief enough to fit in the small box.

  6. Repeat steps 3-6 nine more times, researching at least five scientists from the Arctic and five from the Antarctic. Students should also use at least one other website- teachers may give suggestions here.

  7. Do one more example pertaining to question # 5. = tropical research. Have students come to the SMART board or computer screen and search for tropical research. Have the class select a project and discuss what the project is about.

This should take ~ 50 minutes.

  1. Have the students finish the project on their own during the next week.

  2. Speak with the computer teacher and see if they have time to work on this during computer or other classes.

  3. After one week, discuss what students have learned. Review questions 1-5 – taking up to one hour.

  4. Collect worksheets and evaluate.


Have the students contact researchers or teachers with questions through the 'Ask the Team' page on the PolarTREC website.

You could investigate some of the research projects a little deeper by looking at gallery photos or journals on the PolarTREC web site.

This activity opens a door to investigate anything that is happening in the Arctic and Antarctic.



Have a class discussion regarding the activity. Students share knowledge learned about scientists and develop their own perspectives on polar research. Students also learn to compare research being carried out in different environments ie. arctic vs. tropic. Teachers collect the worksheet and evaluate completion for a grade and take note of questions 2, 3 and 4 which are opinion answers.


Lesson created by Elizabeth Eubanks, hoocaca [at]

Drawing application adapted from a similar lesson by Frank Kelly- PolarTREC teacher 2007.


9-12 Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry: Content Standard B: Physical Science: Content Standard C: Life Science: Content Standard D: Earth ad Space Science: Content Standard F: Science In Personal and Social Perspectives: Content Standard E: Science and Technology: Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science: a. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry b. Understandings about scientific inquiry c. Chemical reactions f. Interactions of energy and matter d. Interdependence of organisms e. Matter, energy, and organization in living systems f. Behavior of organisms a. Energy in the earth system b. Geochemical cycles a. Abilities of technological design b. Understandings about science and technology a. Personal and community health b. Population growth c. Natural resources d. Environmental quality e. Natural and human-induced hazards f. Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges a. Science as a human endeavor b. Nature of scientific knowledge c. Historical perspectives

Standards Other

Florida Sunshine State Standards * Based on middle school standards

SC.8.E.5.10 - Assess how technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.

SC.8.N.1.6 - Understand that scientific investigations involve the collection of relevant empirical evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses, predictions, explanations and models to make sense of the collected evidence.

SC.8.N.3.1 -Select models useful in relating the results of their own investigations.

SC.8.N.4.1 Explain that science is one of the processes that can be used to inform decision making at the community, state, national, and international levels.

SC.8.N.4.2 - Explain how political, social, and economic concerns can affect science, and vice versa.

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This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed by this program are those of the PIs and coordinating team, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.