International Polar Year, or IPY (2007-2009) is by far the most exciting international scientific and educational opportunity of this century. For the next two years, all eyes will be focused on the physical, social and human dimensions of our planet's polar regions. Watch this blog for news related to Canadian outreach and education efforts related to IPY. Of particular interest to educators! Note: This blog is created independently of any official IPY organization

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

IPY: NOAA Lesson Plans

International Polar Year: IPY: 2007 2008: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: "NOAA has highlighted selected lessons aligned to the National Science Education Standards (NSES) for middle and high school students."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


ESSAY CONTEST CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR (IPY)! For more information about the essay contest from the Norwegian Researchers and Teachers Association of North America (NORTANA) visit the website at: Or contact: Louis Janus CARLA Office, 674 Heller Hall University of Minnesota 271-19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612) 624-9016 *************************************************************** The International Polar Year (IPY) is a large scientific program focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic. The IPY runs from March 2007 to March 2009. The Norwegian Researchers and Teachers Association of North America (NORTANA) announces an essay contest in conjunction with IPY for college students in North America. Norway and Norwegians have played many active scientific, social, political and cultural roles in the Arctic and Antarctic regions for hundreds of years. Undergraduate students at any North American college or university are invited to submit essays on topics including, but not restricted to, Norway¹s activities, research, industry, Sami population, or the creative arts in the polar regions. Further topics might include Polar exploration, whaling, environmental projects, international relations, climate change or recreation. The essays may be factual or polemical. Primary and secondary sources must be acknowledged. The winning essay writer will receive a scholarship award of $500. Essays should be approximately 1500 words long, and they should be written in English. To be considered, essays must be received by January 15, 2008. Send completed essays or questions to: Louis Janus at In order to be evaluated fairly, no indication of the writer¹s identity should be included in the essay. A code will be assigned to each essay, so the judges will not know whose essays they are reading. Essays will be judged on quality, clarity, originality, and insights provided. The winning essay will be published in NORTANA¹s newsletter and posted on the NORTANA website ( Send essays or questions to or by mail to Louis Janus, CARLA Office, 674 Heller Hall, University of Minnesota, 271-19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455. (612) 624-9016

Monday, September 24, 2007

IPY sites courtesy National IPY Chair

A couple of useful source of potential stories and information are the various electronic newsletters being released by the various research programs. Two I enjoy and track regularly are the European Damocles project ( the name itself should catch your interest ) and the Canadian Arctic Net . The lead story from Damocles is about the sailing vessel TARA that has been frozen in and serving as a “drift bouy” for a year now. From the Tara site you can get regular updates and you could probably email the crew of scientists and maybe even set up an interview. Originally I thought Tara might drift east from north of Siberia and enter or come close to the western Canadian Arctic but from the latest plot of their drift course available on its web site it looks like it won’t come close instead having trended towards the pole and northern Greenland It easy to subscribe to both from their web sites. Ian R. Church Chair, Canadian IPY National Committee,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More about IPY Sea Ice Day September 21: Launch a Balloon!

A lot of information about Sea Ice is now available at: This includes: * information about over 30 projects studying Sea Ice, * contact to experts around the world * information about current expeditions, * background information * activities for teachers, students, and science centres * links to good sources of images and further resources Flyers are available for download from the Sea Ice Educators page in Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portugese, Japanese, German, Inuktitut, Russian, Danish, Icelandic, Malay, Polish, Spanish, and Norwegian. You can also "launch a virtual balloon" to show your involvement or interest in this event. It's quick, easy, and fun. Direct details can be found at We hope to see balloons going up around the world,- from schools, scientists, education centres, homes, interested public, artists, photographers, and more... This also helps us to learn more about who is interested in IPY, and what you might like to know more about in the future. We know that people's schedules are busy, so feel free to launch a balloon any time from now on,- the map is now live! To keep in touch with future IPY events and activities, please consider subscribing to one of our discussion groups: open discussion space and announcements: specifically for teachers: monthly reports only (no discussion) IPY in Geobrowsers See you on the Map! For more information, contact: Dr Rhian A Salmon IPY Education and Outreach Coordinator +44 (0) 7711181509 AIM / skype: rhiansalmon International Polar Year:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

IPY Data Stories video conference and web cast

In conjunction with the Sea Ice Day on 21 September, the first (and perhaps only) IPY Data Stories video conference and web cast will be held Tuesday the 18th at 1600 UTC (which is 1800 in Germany, noon on the East coast, 10 AM Mountain and 8AM in Alaska.) Hosted by Jennifer Oxenford at University of Pennsylvania with sea ice scientists in Bremerhaven Germany, Boulder, Colorado and Fairbanks, Alaska along with students in each of these locations, discussions will explore recent research findings on changes in Arctic sea ice and life under the sea ice off Antarctica. For more information, including the web address to watch the webcast of the event, which will be archived for on demand viewing, visit the website:

Friday, September 14, 2007

NSTA International Polar Year Web Seminars - Online

NSTA’s Web Seminars offers two free online seminars designed for educators of grades 5–8 on The Role of Polar Regions in Earth’s Changing Climate System, November 27 and December 13, 2007, featuring scientists and education specialists from NASA. The seminars will focus on the International Polar Year (IPY) and how polar regions interact with Earth’s climate system; atmospheric gas changes over Earth’s history; what ice cores tell us about past climate; and the implications of climate change in the polar regions.

Join the International Polar Year Events that focus on Sea Ice!

(1) IPY Data Stories - Sea Ice Videoconference and Webcast 18 September 2008 1600 UTC, 1800 Germany, Noon Eastern, 10 AM Mountain Time, 8 AM Alaska Learn about the "who, what, where, when, how and why" of sea ice research by joining the first of the IPY Data Stories series, which will be archived on the web for on-demand viewing. In conjunction with the first International Polar Day on September 21, 2007, scientists studying sea ice from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at CU Boulder, the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, and at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks will present their recent data and findings in a video conference and webcast with students who will ask questions of the scientists. Topics will include examining the record low sea ice extent in the Arctic, the impacts of the loss of sea ice on coastal communities, and ecosystems that exist under the ice. The video conference will be webcast and archived by MAGPI at the University of Pennsylvania. (2) INTERNATIONAL POLAR DAY On September 21, 2007, the International Polar Year (IPY) will launch its first International Polar Day, focusing on Sea Ice. In preparation for this, a special sea ice web page has been prepared with information for Press and Educators, details of current projects and expeditions, contact details for scientists around the world, including in the polar regions, images, background information and useful links and resources.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sea Ice Studies: Lesson Plan

Sea ice studies…students in Kimmirut, NU did some as part of the Northern Climate Change Schools Program back at the beginning of the decade. See the lesson plan at :

And the community/class profile at:

International Polar Day, September 21

Note from Karen Edwards, Canadian IPY Secretariat

Please note September 21st will mark the first of first of quarterly International Polar Days, lead by the International Program Office (IPO) and the international Education, Outreach and Communications (EOC) subcommittee, to sustain public and media interest on IPY over the period of IPY.

The IPO has issued a media advisory ( and an information page ( that outlines activities/experiments that teachers and students can conduct on Sept 21st to mark the IPY Sea Ice Day. Classrooms can also launch a virtual balloon on the IPY map to indicate that they have participated in the event.

We have tried to include as much Canadian content and resources on the information page but if there are key areas we have missed then please feel free to let me know and I can send that information on to the IPO for inclusion on the web.

We are trying to organize some of the students that participated in the Students on Ice cruise this summer to give talks in local classrooms for that day. The timing is short but we will work with whatever opportunities we can within the given timeframe.

This first IPY day will allow us to create a model for the next on in early December. Thanks so much for your help in distributing this information throughout your network.

All the best, Karen

Karen Edwards Coordinator Canadian IPY Secretariat Z-908 Biological Sciences University of Alberta Edmonton, AB, CANADA, T6G 2E9 Tele: 780-492-0486 Fax: 780-492-0493 Website:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NASA International Polar Year teacher's site

The NASA International Polar Year Web site features extensive resources educators can use to engage students in the study of the Arctic and Antarctic, and their role in the climate and life on Earth. The material also covers the polar regions of the moon and Mars.

Educators can access an easy-to-use, searchable "NASA Polar Express" database of news, images, video, animations, posters and fact sheets. Educators can also use lessons, educational tools and datasets, reading materials, podcasts and vodcasts, curriculum-based science games and a calendar of International Polar Year events.

Educators and students may also visit featured pages on the Web site like those offering an animated Tour of the Cryosphere, a trip to regions of Earth covered in snow and ice. Polar-palooza features stories of life and research in the polar regions under an interagency educational and public outreach initiative.

NASA - NASA & The International Polar Year (home site) Educators Page ( NASA IPY Multimedia page with cool videos NASA Web Site Offers Educators International Polar Year Resources (news release) - USA 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The NASA International Polar Year Web site features extensive resources educators can use to engage students in the study of ... See all stories on this topic

Wednesday, September 5, 2007