Create a Diorama

Antarctic Worksheets from Fiona

Create a Diorama

 Years 7 - 9



Each person in the class has to make a diorama out of a shoe box or something similar. This is a collection of between five and ten objects saved by a member of an expedition to Antarctica. These objects may be symbolic (for example a match to represent the warmth this expedition member felt able to impart to other members of the team) or practical (perhaps the knife that they used to carve meat from seal bones) or have sentimental value (maybe the collar of a favourite dog who had to be shot).


In preparation for this, the class may read some of the following:


Fuchs and Hillary The Crossing of Antarctica, London 1959


Marshall, Howard With Scott to the Pole, London 1960


May, John The Greenpeace Book of Antarctica, London ,1988


Lansing, Alfred Endurance, the Greatest Adventure Story Ever Told, London 1999


Lewis, David Ice Bird - Capsize in the Antarctic Ocean


Thomson, John Shackleton's Captain, Christchurch, 1998




Each person may wish to write a short explanation of the significance of each object in their collection. The explanation will be included with the diorama.



Write Your Own Antarctic Drama Years 9 - 11

The Situation:


You are a group of four, five or six researchers working in a small hut at Cape Royds, two days' trek over ice and snow from Scott Base. You have been drilling holes through the ice to catch and tag fish for your research assignment for a New Zealand University. However, your work has had to be temporarily halted as a blizzard has blown up and you all have to shelter in the hut.


Scenario #1:

As you sit together, trying unsuccessfully to get the gas stove to light, discussing your research and trying to keep your minds occupied, you are astonished to hear a weak banging at the door as a person outside feebly tries to open it against the raging gales. When you open the door, a man falls inward, and you hear his story: he and three others set out from their ship which was crushed by ice a week ago.


Scenario #2

During the conversation, a member of the research team reveals a sensational secret about himself/herself. The others realise that this secret means that they can no longer continue their research together in the hut. However, the blizzard is raging on and it is obviously not going to end quickly.


Group Task:

Choose one of the scenarios and complete the story in a play. Each group must write a two- or three-act script for the play, learn their lines, and act it out for the class.



Antarctic Tent Debate



For this exercise, the class may be divided into groups of about six, in which case one or two people in each group lose and have to 'walk'. Otherwise, the class may do it as a whole, in which case, perhaps the best dozen are selected as the winners.


During Captain Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, Captain Oates knew that his illness was holding up the rest of the team. Rather than burden the others with his weak and sick body, he chose to leave the tent and walk off to his certain death in the storm. His famous parting words were "I am going out; I may be some time".


However, being modern young people in the same situation as Captain Scott's expedition, you are not about to sacrifice yourself for others, even though you know that the group will only survive if one person walks out of the storm-bound tent. Your aim is to ensure that your own life will be preserved.


In order to work out who gets to live and who has to walk, you have a debate where each person gets two or three minutes to talk. You must create for yourself a persona you think is worth saving (perhaps you have some special skills or attributes, or you have done a great service to humankind, or you have compelling reasons that you are needed at home), then convince the rest of the team. The others have to want you to be a survivor for the reasons you give when it is your turn to debate.


When everyone has spoken, the team votes for the people they want to remain. No-one may vote for themselves.


The winners are those who have convinced the rest of the team members that they must be saved.






This is a kind of play, based only on sounds. You are going to create a soundscape of Antarctica. The result should be a symphony of sounds produced by the voices of the participants imitating what you believe may be the sounds of Antarctica or part of Antarctica.


Divide the class into approximately half. You may use larger or smaller groups, and experiment with the different results from different sizes.


Each participant must create a sound that he or she associates with Antarctica. You may give a few suggestions such as the noises of whales communicating with each other, the calls of penguins, the cry of the wind, the creak of the icebergs, voices of men urging on the dogs, the moan of gulls, the crashing of chunks of ice colliding in the storm-tossed waters etc.


Each group must then work out a combination of sounds, rather like a symphony, with some sounds being used at some times, and some at others, and possibly all at once for a crescendo.


Each production should last 2 - 3 minutes for groups of about ten, and longer for bigger groups.



Antarctica Website Comprehension Exercise



Read the Antarctic Webpage at before you begin this comprehension exercise.


1)     Antarctica could be described as:

i)      The coldest continent on earth

ii)    The driest continent on earth

iii)  The highest continent on earth

iv)   All of the above


2)     Which Antarctic sea is closest to New Zealand?

i)      The Pacific Ocean

ii)    The Ross Sea

iii)  The Southern Ocean

iv)   The Indian Ocean


3.      What did the ancient Greeks call the Southern continent?

4.      What does Terra Australis Incognita mean?

5.      Who sighted the Antarctic continent for the first time?

6.      Between which years did the first British Antarctic expedition take place?

7.      When did Roald Amundsen first spend a winter in Antarctica?

8.      What did he later become famous for?

9.      What was the name of Robert Falcon Scotts ship?

10.   Name the three men in the party that reached 82 deg 17 sec south on 30th December 1903.

11.   Who led the second party to reach the South Pole (and died on the return journey)?

12.   When was the Ross Dependency established by New Zealand?

13.   When was New Zealands Scott Base established?

14.   The rocks in Antarctica are similar to rocks in:

i)      Australia

ii)    India

iii)  Africa and South America

iv)   All of the above

15.   Why do salts accumulate (gather) in soils?

16.   What are some life forms that can live where moisture exists on Antarctica?

17.   How long ago did New Zealand and Australia split from Antarctica?

18.   What is the chemical difference between normal oxygen and ozone?

19.   What important role does the ozone layer play?

20.   Which gases made a huge impact on the destruction of the ozone layer?

21.   What kind of radiation reaches earth as a result of the depletion of ozone?

22.   What does this radiation cause?


Design Your Own Antarctica Web Page



You are designing a web page that convinces people that Antarctica is a very special place on Earth that should be turned into a World Heritage Park. Include some pictures, some information and some persuasive arguments.


However, to begin with, you will need to read about how to go about making a web page that is effective:



Elements of a Homepage


Find a couple of homepages on the Internet (preferably those you know and like) and look carefully at the following features to see what looks good and is speedy to download:

       Page Title

       Top-of-page graphics

       Page backgrounds

       Headline text

       Body Text

       Menu Bars


       URL address/author information




Think about:




You need to be informative and convincing. Give people plenty of information about Antarctica. Remember that most people will never visit it themselves, so take them on a little tour. Introduce them to the weird and wonderful world of the penguins, the seals, the explorers, the strange ice floes, the cruel blizzards, the craggy icebergs, the high, dry deserts, the unusual plant life, the importance of the krill. Make them LOVE Antarctica!


You may need to explain the interdependence of Antarctic organisms in order to persuade them that Antarctica is worth conserving.


Then you need to prod them into action. Use imperatives to tell them to write to the appropriate people. Who are these people? Give them names and addresses. Give them some clues about what to write.


Organisation and Style


Organisation of information is an important aspect of the effectiveness of any web page. So remember:




Page Length





When creating a site, good graphic elements are essential. The graphics needed include illustrations, logos, icons and menu bars, lines and bullet points.

Three ways to obtain images are:





Copyright is the right to reproduce (copy) an artwork, piece of writing, song lyrics and music, design or other copyright material.

The traps for the unwary include:



Making Antarctic Poems



Poetry is language in its most concentrated form. It expresses powerful emotions or passions; it may convey the quintessence of an experience or description. Its sounds should satisfy the ear and its vividness create pictures in the mind.




A three-lined Japanese poem of 17 syllables, usually presenting an image or delicate emotion.


To help you get started with your haiku:

Think of an abstract noun, such as freedom, cold, wonder, fear, etc and create in your mind a picture of something that illustrates this. Write one sentence to describe this picture regardless of the number of syllables. Play around with the words, choosing the most descriptive, evocative and interesting. Now make them fit the syllable formula. Keep on playing with the words, deleting some, adding others, using synonyms.




Decide on a subject for your haiku. For example: Shackleton's journey, penguins, furious snow storms, pollution. Then brainstorm descriptions of this, using as many phrases as you can that appeal to one's senses eg sight, smell, touch, sound, and emotions. Choose the best phrases and work them into three lines of five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.


For example:

Pale Antarctic light

softens the distant mountains;

winter is over.



A five-lined poem with 1,2,3,4,5 words in each line respectively.


For example:


Frozen, white

Vast, endlessly stretching

Cruelly blinding, bitterly numbing.

Scott and men coldly dead




You may like to try the following pattern:


        Line 1: A noun (also the title of your poem)

        Line 2: Two adjectives which describe the noun)

        Line 3: Three verbs, used as adjectives, showing what  the noun does

        Line 4: A short phrase about the noun

        Line 5: A synonym for the noun in line one


For example:


Pretty, white

Drifted, piled, frozen

Can be friend or foe


Parts of Speech

Years 7 9









These people are scientists on Antarctica.

What can they see?

Make a list of all the nouns that name the objects in the photo.














Describe the objects in this aerial picture of Scott Base. You may wish to look at the colour, size, shape and arrangement of the buildings, vehicles, and any other features in the picture; you may wish to describe the ice behind the base or the feeling or atmosphere of the general area of the base:









What are the seabird (skua) and the penguins (Adelies) doing? Make a list of all the verbs that might describe what each animal is doing:






How are they doing it? Describe the way that each penguin and the skua are performing their actions.





Speaking to Inform




Years Levels Duration

9 & 10 4 6 2 - 3 weeks



Achievement objective being assessed




Using texts

Processing information


Learning Outcomes

Research then arrange material coherently.

Using appropriate speech and delivery methods, speak in a formal situation to communicate information.


Teaching and Learning


       Students are given a range of topics from which each chooses one on which an individual speech is to be presented to the class. These topics may include:

     The expedition of Shackleton or Scott or Amundsen or similar to Antarctica

     The varieties of penguin or seal or fish or other mammals at Antarctica

     The importance of Krill in Antarctic waters

     The Air New Zealand crash on Mt Erebus

     The impact of human occupation of Antarctica

     The exploration history of Antarctica

     The geology of Antarctica

     How fish or mammal life adapts to the extreme cold in Antarctica

     The poetry or art of Antarctica

       Students are given two class periods in which to research their topics.

       Students are given one period in which to write their speeches.

       Students are given one period in which to practise their speeches.

       All extra research, writing and practising is to be done in homework time.

       Students may use one visual aid only to help in the presentation of their speech.

       Students are taught about structuring a speech, using speaking devices, and about voice, stance, eye contact and gesture in two or three lessons or part lessons throughout the time they are working on their speeches.



Speaking to Persuade



Years Levels Duration

11 & 12 6 7 2 - 3 weeks


Achievement objective being assessed




Using texts

Processing information

Analysing and selecting information for persuasive purposes


Learning Outcomes

Research then arrange material coherently.

Using appropriate speech and delivery methods, speak in a formal situation to communicate information, and persuade an audience to their point of view.


Teaching and Learning


       Students are given a range of topics from which each chooses one on which a persuasive speech is to be presented to the class. These topics may include:

     Why the Antarctic ecosystem needs to be preserved

     Why damage to the ozone layer needs to be prevented

     Why tourism to Antarctica should be limited

     Why tourism to Antarctica should not be limited

     Why fishing quotas should be internationally policed and enforced (or not)

     Why the Environmental Protocol should be tightened to prevent the discharge of raw sewage into Antarctic waters (or not)

     Why Antarctica should be made into a World heritage Park (or not)

       Students are given two class periods in which to research their topics.

       Students are given one period in which to write their speeches.

       Students are given one period in which to practise their speeches.

       All extra research, writing and practising is to be done in homework time.

       Students may not use any visual aid in the presentation of their speech.

       Students are given some revision about structuring a speech, and about voice, stance, eye contact and gesture in one lesson or part lesson during the period on which they are working on their speeches.


Students are given two lessons about Persuasive Speaking techniques during the time they are working on their speeches.


To go to the worksheets prepared by Chris click on his name.