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, January 30, 2008 | News, search and shopping from the Houston Chronicle | News, search and shopping from the Houston Chronicle: "Research means cold cash / Barrow, Alaska, bustles as more scientists visit By TOM FOWLER Staff BARROW, ALASKA - As kids in this remote Arctic Ocean town, Lewis Brower and his friends caught lemmings and sold them for a quarter apiece to researchers who fed the rodents to the snowy owls they were studying. Today, as station manager for the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, a nonprofit logistics business that supports the scientific community, Brower's work is about a lot more than pocket change. Last summer the consortium helped more than 300 visiting scientists and scholars with their work...(more)

Teachers' Domain Polar Sciences Collection Launch

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Teachers' Domain Polar Sciences Collection. You'll find the entire special collection at The special collection includes the 20 new resources, lesson plan, and student activity funded by NSF as an IPY Education activity, and we've also also catalogued other resources already on TD that complement these. Nearly all the new resources are available as Open Educational Resources for download and reuse. You can find a listing of just the newly added materials at The student activity, "Observations of Climate Change" is a new feature on Teachers' Domain, giving students a chance to engage with qualitative and quantitative data as they examine issues affecting the Arctic and the rest of the world. We hope that these materials will help bring polar sciences into classrooms across the country and help to focus attention on the importance of the work taking place during International Polar Year. We plan to expand the special collection later this year with the 40 new resources we'll be developing as part of our NSF-funded project, "Engaging Alaska Natives in the Geosciences." Teachers' Domain is a Pathways project of the National Science Digital Library. For more information contact: Ted Sicker, Executive Producer, Teachers' Domain WGBH Interactive West 55 Federal Street, Suite 260 Greenfield, MA 01301 PH: 413-774-2422 FAX: 413-774-9888 Boston Ext. x3816

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Next IPY Science Day--Changing Earth; Past, Present, and Future

--- apologies for cross-posting. please circulate around your networks ---
Dear colleagues,
The next quarterly IPY Science Day, or International Polar Day, will occur on March 12th, 2008, and focus on Changing Earth; Past, Present, and Future.
The polar region are critical archives of polar change. Different techniques and disciplines are used to learn about Earth's history over millions, thousands, and hundreds of years. Observations monitor and explore the Earth today, and models developed from these sciences help predict the future. By learning more about the Earth in the past, and how climates have changed previously, we equip ourselves to better predict and understand changes we are experiencing today, and will experience in the future.
The IPY Science Day on March 12th will focus on change over geological time, especially the glacial and interglacial periods that have occurred during the past million years, and cycles of ocean- atmosphere interactions that give rise to regional climate variations on scales of decades to centuries. Understanding these processes, and the science projects that investigate them, is critical in order to put recent human- induced climate change into context.
During the next few weeks we are coordinating a number of events, activities, and resources around the theme of Changing Earth. This includes
background information about the science
contacts and information about relevant IPY projects and scientists
multi-lingual educational activities
community 'virtual balloon launch'
press releases
live web- and video-conferences
stories from the Arctic and Antarctic
Please contact Rhian Salmon ( if you would like to get involved in this event, or share a resource, activity, or area of expertise.
Please also circulate this information around your networks, and encourage wide involvement in this event across a range of educators, communicators, and media.
To stay in touch with updates and activities, please subscribe to the IPY open discussion space and announcements at:
best wishes
Dr Rhian A Salmon
IPY Education and Outreach Coordinator
+44 (0) 7711181509
AIM / skype: rhiansalmon
International Polar Year:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Learning About Antarctica’s Past

Learning About Antarctica’s Past

Rock near surface of lake ice, Lake Bonney, Antarctica

Did you know that Antarctica was once a warm place? It is hard to imagine, but millions of years ago, the coldest, driest, and windiest place on earth was actually ice-free and inhabited by trees, plants, dinosaurs, and small mammals.

Approximately 500 million years ago, Antarctica was part of a supercontinent called Gondwana. The large land mass included Australia, peninsular India, Africa, South America, and Antarctica.

Gondwana began to break apart about 180 million years ago. Antarctica became a separate continent approximately 120 million years ago and slowly drifted to the southern end of earth’s axis. Antarctica has been in a polar location for the last 100 million years.

Glaciers began to form on Antarctica about 38 million years ago, and the continent has been covered by ice for about the last 15 million years.

Why teach about Antarctica’s past?

A common misconception about the polar regions is that they have always been cold and isolated.... (more at site)