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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Celebrate International Polar Day on 24 September, 2008!

This particular Polar Day will focus on the human dimension of IPY and we have created four (4) activities around this Day that will allow classes of all ages and subjects, as well as the general public, to get involved in the celebration For more information about any of the events, contact: Kristi Skebo ---------------------------------------------------- Here are the (4) ways in which you can celebrate IPY day: 1. Launch a Virtual Balloon Show the involvement of your class or school in these Polar Day events ( and watch balloons fly around the world. See if you can find some of the other classrooms who participated in these activities! 2. Connecting Communities From Pole to Pole We encourage classrooms around the world to engage in discussions about the changes (climatic, socio-economic, political, health) affecting their own communities and lives. These discussions will all come from very different places and perspectives and part of the exercise will be to think about people living in other places dealing with similar changes, for example, polar regions or non-polar regions for those who live in the Arctic. An English-language flyers and translated versions of this activity (French, Italian, Greek, Inuktitut to name a few) will be available from over the next couple of weeks. 3. Global Student Discussion As a follow-up to the classroom discussion listed above, we encourage those classes or teachers with internet access to join in a GLOBAL DISCUSSION - share your class ideas, videos, artwork, poems, songs, etc. in an online forum at The on-line classroom is now live although we are still making some adjustments. You can register your class ahead of time and look around the site. During the week of September 22, social science researchers from around the world will be available to answer questions that arise from your discussions, questions about their work and what¹s it like to live in the polar regions. Teachers can exchange lesson plan ideas on the Polar Day website ( Be sure to share a description of your class (school and class name, location, grade, subject) ­ classes from grades 3-12, in any subject (English, Geography, Science, etc) are encouraged to participate. WE ARE LOOKING TO RECRUIT SCHOOLS IN ARCTIC REGIONS (CANADA, ALASKA, GREENLAND, EUROPE, SIBERIA) TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GLOBAL DISCUSSIONS. WE HAVE NUMEROUS SCHOOLS FROM NON-POLAR REGIONS (U.S.A., BRAZIL, ZAMBIA, CONGO, etc.) WHO ARE INTERESTED IN EXCHANGING IDEAS DIRECTLY WITH NORTHERN CLASSROOMS. PLEASE CONTACT KRISTI SKEBO AT THE CANADIAN IPY SECRETARIAT IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THIS DIRECT EXCHANGE ( 4. Live Radio Event CKLB Radio - an independent aboriginal community radio station based in Yellowknife, NWT, is proud to be hosting a new type of live event celebrating our connection with the North. For 24 hours CKLB will be connecting people around the world through an Internet radio stream which can be found at There will be three opportunities for students to speak LIVE with the radio show announcers and experts. They can also send in questions by email or blog real time questions through the CKLB website. Each radio show will be 2 hours long and include interviews with researchers, community leaders and teachers involved with polar research and activities. Some of the topics include: · Caribou migration and health of Inuit community health · Discussion of climatic, social and health issues in indigenous communities in Australia and Canada¹s North · Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy (link) · The University of the Arctic: Providing Higher Education and Outreach Programs for the International Polar Year · Map of Arctic People project (link) · Discussion of what it¹s like to overwinter at the Mawson Research Station in Antarctica · Antarctic Tourism · Storybook exchange between schools in Alaska and Tasmania (Australia) The times for this event are: Europe - Sept 24 1330-1530 UTC+2 (7:30-9:30 am EST or 5:30-7:30am in Yellowknife) North America - Sept 24 1300-1500 UTC-4 (1:00-3:00pm EST or 11am-1pm in Yellowknife) Australia/Asia - Sept 25 1300-1500 UTC+10 (11pm -1am EST or 9:00-11:00pm in Yellowknife) Tune in, stream from the internet, ask questions, and use the information provided to stimulate debate in your classrooms about important IPY projects and issues. All broadcasts will be archived on CKLB¹s website ( so if you miss one on Sept 24, you can ³tune in² at a later date! CKLB would love to put your students on the air and allow them to ask participating IPY project representatives questions directly, live during the broadcast. WE ARE LOOKING FOR 3 OR 4 CLASSROOMS IN EACH TIME ZONE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS EXCITING OPPORTUNITY. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, PLEASE CONTACT KRISTI SKEBO ( WITH A SCHOOL PHONE NUMBER WHERE YOUR CLASS CAN BE REACHED DURING THE BROADCAST. CKLB WILL SET UP A TIME WITH YOU IN ADVANCE TO CONNECT WITH YOUR CLASSROOM DURING THE PROGRAM SO YOUR STUDENTS CAN ASK QUESTIONS LIVE ON THE AIR. We hope to see lots of balloons flying on the map on September 24! Kristi Skebo Communications 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:


PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) program is currently accepting teacher applications from teachers for the third year of teacher research experiences. Teachers are invited to submit an application to participate in field research learning experiences during the 2009 (Arctic) or 2009-2010 (Antarctic) field seasons. More information and application forms are available at: ABOUT THE PROGRAM PolarTREC is a three-year (2007-2009) program of the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) focusing on a wide variety of research activities occurring in both the Arctic and Antarctic during and after the International Polar Year (IPY). PolarTREC pairs K-12 teachers with researchers to improve science education through authentic polar research experiences. The program integrates research and education to produce a legacy of long-term teacher-researcher collaborations, improved teacher content knowledge, and broad public interest and engagement in polar science. The International Polar YearIPY presents an outstanding opportunity for researchers to share their passion for polar research through topics that naturally engage students and the wider public. PolarTREC is funded by the National Science Foundation. Through PolarTREC, over 40 U.S. teachers will spend two to six weeks in the Arctic or Antarctic, working closely with researchers in the field as an integral part of the science team. PolarTREC teachers and researchers will be matched based on similar goals and interests and teachers will be trained to meet the program requirements prior to the field season. While in the field, teachers and researchers will communicate extensively with their colleagues, communities, and students of all ages across the globe, using a variety of tools including satellite phones, online journals, podcasts, and interactive "Live from IPY" events and web-based seminars. Teachers and research projects will be selected and matched to fill the openings available. All major expenses associated with teacher participation in PolarTREC field experiences are covered by the program, including transportation to and from the field site, food, lodging, and substitute teacher costs. We expect that teachers will be notified of selection decisions in December 2008. APPLICATION DEADLINE Teacher Application Deadline: Monday, 29 September 2008 POLARTREC INFORMATIONAL WEBINAR Interested teachers, researchers, and the public are encouraged to participate in a PolarTREC informational webinar (web conference), scheduled for Wednesday, 10 September 2008, at 2:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time (12:00 p.m. HST; 3:00 p.m. PDT; 4:00 p.m. MDT; 5:00 p.m. CDT; 6:00 p.m. EDT). Please register early! An online webinar registration form is available at: Instructions will be sent to all registered participants. Participation in the webinar is free, optional, and is not a prerequisite for applying to the PolarTREC program. Webinar Registration Deadline: Tuesday, 9 September 2008 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION More information about PolarTREC, including program goals, requirements, expectations, and frequently asked questions, is available at: For further information, please contact: E-mail: Phone: 907-474-1600 Funding for PolarTREC is provided by the National Science Foundation (Award Number: 632401).