Who wants to go to Antarctica?
During our online sessions you learned what it looks, sounds and feels like when you visit Antarctica. You found out about the Princess Elizabeth Research station, and about some of the work that scientists do there. Most importantly, you discovered what secrets may be lying underneath the ice!
Kate in Antarctica
Dr Kate Winter is one of the scientists from Northumbria University and she does her research in Antarctica. To find out more about Kate, her research and her adventures in the Antarctic, click here.
Teachers in the freezer
This video shows what happened to a group of teachers who went to Antarctica. Do you think they could cope with this extreme environment?
What are ice cores?
Glaciers form as layers of snow fall on top of each other. Over time, the buried snow is compressed by the weight of the snow above it, forming ice. Bubbles of air from the time the snow fell are trapped in the ice. Layers of ice build up over years, creating a record of the local temperature, the greenhouse gas concentrations and volcanic activity when the snow fell.
Ice cores are cylinders of ice drilled from glaciers, with the youngest ice at the top and the oldest ice at the bottom of the core. Scientists are able to use this to tell what the climate was like when the snow fell. By understanding how the climate has changed in the past, scientists are able to predict how the climate will change in the future.
Click here or watch the video on the left to find out a lot more about ice cores.
Do try this at home: home made ice cores
Fancy making your own ice core? Take a look at this fantastic instructional video made by one of the Year 6 pupils at Chopwell Primary School.
Do try this at home: melting ice
Speed it up
You all enjoyed investigating ice cubes and ice cores today and discovered you could speed up melting by holding the ice in your hands. If you have an ice cube tray at home, fill it up, freeze it and continue experimenting.
How else can you speed up melting? Which room in your house does ice melt quickest in? What happens when you add salt to your ice? Remember to keep your ice in a cup or bowl to avoid puddles inside!
Slow it down
How can you stop the ice from melting? Can you cool your ice down, or protect it from the heat? Can you cover your cup or bowl in different materials such as paper or tinfoil to see if this makes a difference to melting speed?
More ice fun
Try freezing water balloons filled with water to create ice baubles. You can add different coloured food colouring to warm water and drip it on to create some great effects. Try adding salt now and watch what happens.
Try mixing some baking powder or bicarbonate of soda with water (about 3/4 powder to 1/4 of water). Put into ice cube trays, moulds or any spare plastic container you have handy, such as a cleaned yogurt pot. When frozen (overnight is best), tip out your ice onto a tray, washing up bowl or bucket. Add vinegar drop by drop and watch it fizz. What happens when you add more vinegar?
For inspiration in our workshops, we used a poem by nationally recognised and award-winning poet, Katrina Porteous. Katrina is published by Bloodaxe books.
Could you write another poem about the Antarctic, based on the scientific facts you have discovered?
Download Katrina’s poem Ice Cores here.
Poetry from our schools
Take a look at these amazing poems created by children in Year 5 and 6 in response to the Underneath the Ice workshop sessions.