Plan an exciting expedition using local resources

  1. Discuss how humans adapt to the cold.
  2. Students will plan an expedition to Antarctica. Each team of 3-4 students will be responsible for planning a portion of the expedition and the equipment needed.

The teams will address:

  • cold-weather hiking and camping gear
  • warming meals to help you battle the cold from within
  • cold-weather SCUBA equipment
  • survival gear, medical supplies (in the event of a disaster)
  • route and destination, which should cover land and sea in a cold region
  • record-keeping for history, including expedition flag, motto, and diary

Together, decide what the mission of the expedition will be. Write a mission statement. Work together to come up with an expedition manifest, route and destination.

Team A: Survival gear on land

Refer to catalogs from L. L. Bean, EMS, or Eddie Bauer specializing in sports and hiking equipment to research fabrics (such as Gore Tex, polypropylene, fleece), clothes, and gear especially designed for cold-weather hiking and camping. Make sure your gear is tested to withstand Antarctic temperatures.

Team B: Food

Ask the Home Economics instructor to help you plan healthful, easy to carry, high-energy meals. Make up a list of food supplies you will need to bring, including quantities for four weeks, as well as any utensils (pans, mixing bowls, etc.). Make sure you have food that people will enjoy eating!

Team C: Survival gear in the sea

How must a diver become like a fish?

Research what kind of dive suits are used for cold-water diving.

Look through back issues of dive magazines at the library; interview a scuba diver, commercial diver, or police rescue team diver.

Research survival suits and other safety gear that fishermen and yachtsmen carry on their boats. Contact the US Coast Guard regarding any regulations for required safety gear.

Team D: Transportation

Write a memo as if you were an expedition leader planning to take a group of explorers to a cold region (you choose where) by boat and on land. Tell your crew what kind of transportation you will be using.

In the memo, give your crew the route and the coordinates of their destination, and make them figure out where they will be going!

Team E: Safety

Discuss what kind of medical problems might arise. What medical supplies will you need to deal with emergencies? How will you get in touch with the Antarctic Station if you need to be rescued? What information will they need to know? Find out how the Red Cross deals with emergencies in the field.

Team F: Publicity

Design a flag and a motto for your expedition.

Create a fictional log of dates, events, and memorable moments, and your personal feelings over the course of your journey.

For inspiration, you may want to refer to logs kept by Admirals Peary, Scott, and Byrd as they struggled to reach the Poles.

You may want to do a remote interview with the news media (with your flag in the background, of course!) If it's winter, you could probably use the schoolyard as your backdrop.

Satellite Expedition

With all the difficulty involved in mounting an expedition to a cold, inhospitable place like Antarctica, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of doing research via satellite. List what you can learn from satellites about Antarctica. What kind of information can you only get by being on location yourself?

Expedition to a hot spot

Plan a similar expedition, but choose a tropical destination, such as the Fiji Islands. How will your planning be different?

Sunshine contest

In Antarctica, the sun shines 24 hours a day for up to six months of the year. Design a solar-heated building to take advantage of this opportunity.

Insulation contest

Research the principles of heat loss. Define conduction, convection, radiation and infiltration. Design and test insulating systems that minimize heat loss.


  • paper
  • pens
  • markers
  • Yellow Pages
  • outdoor store catalogs
  • world maps