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Topic - Geography and History

Summer Term Topic

This term our topic is Weather and Climate. In History the children will be learning about Earnest Shackleton an Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. In Geography they will be finding out about different climate zones, the Earth’s biomes and weather systems. They will also explore Climate Change as part of the term’s Global Citizenship Theme on Ecological Awareness. See the Knowledge Organiser below for all the things that children will be learning.

Lesson 1 - Weather and Climate 

To start answer the questions on the slide below.

Then refresh your knowledge of weather and climate by watching the videos on the links below.

How many climate zones can you remember? What do you know about them? Have a look at the slides below that show the world’s main climate zones and where they are located.

Activity 1

Complete the worksheet below. Colour each climate zone a different colour and then write a description of each climate zone. If you can’t print the work sheet don’t worry just write out your descriptions on paper. 

Activity 2 - Card Match game

Print out the cards , cut them up and match the description, photograph and rainfall/ temperature graph for each climate zone. If you can’t print them have a look at them and think about which ones go together.

Take this climate quiz to see how much you know about climate.

Lesson 2 : Polar Climate


Read the leaflet below and watch the Frozen Worlds video to find out more about a Polar climate.

Our Planet | Frozen Worlds | FULL EPISODE | Netflix

Lesson 3 : Antarctica

We will be focusing in on the climate of Antarctica. 

Where is Antarctica?

Time Zones

Antarctica is one of the most interesting places in the world when it comes to keeping time. Technically, Antarctica, and the North Pole, falls under all time zones currently followed by the rest of the world. This is because the longitude lines that are used to define time zones all meet at the two poles.


Antarctica, therefore, not only has 24 time zones, but there is at least one point - the South Pole - where a clock synchronized to the time in any part of the world will be correct. Go to Time and Date website: 

Click on the links below to play the interactive games and find out about, where Antarctica is,  the size of Antarctica and its time zones.
The Seasons
Because of the earth's tilt and orbit around the sun, the poles receive less energy and heat from the sun. This results in only two polar two seasons—summer and winter. In summer at the poles, the sun does not set, and in winter the sun does not rise.

Watch these time lapse videos showing a winter’s day and a summer’s day in Antarctica. What do you notice? What is different? Why do you think this is? Think about what you have already learnt today.

Antarctic Weather
Activity 1 - Weather stations
On the website below you can find out the daily weather at some of the Antarctic bases. Complete the weather activity sheet below using the information on the website.
Activity 2 - Antarctica Infographics
Read the fact sheet and watch the video about Antarctica and make an info graphic poster displaying this information.

Antarctica - Facts and Figures - Geography for Kids | Mocomi

Antarctica - the highest, driest, emptiest, coldest place on earth.

Here are some examples of infographics about Antarctica to help you design your own. You need to:

  • decide on the facts you want to include
  • think of a way to display the information visually (using pictures)
  • design your poster
  • create your poster either on paper or on a computer

Aurora Australis

The amazing aurora australis can be seen above Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf. The aurora are caused by charged particles from the Sun crashing into the upper atmosphere and are only visible near the Earth's poles.

Activity 3 - Antarctic Games 
Find out more through playing these interactive games.
Take the Antarctic Wilderness Challenge. Click on the link below:
Play the Sounds of Silence game and try to work out what makes these different Antarctic sounds .

Lesson 4 -Shackleton’s Antarctic adventure


In this lesson you are going to find out the answers to the following Key Questions:


• Who found Antarctica and when? 

• Which explorer got to the South Pole first?

• Why is Sir Ernest Shackleton an important ‘Antarctic’ historical figure?

• What would the crew of Shackleton’s expedition have seen along their route?




Who reached the South Pole First? 
Look at this web page to find out.
 Activity 1
Imagine you are an Antarctic explorer what would you see and experience on your journey. Write a paragraph or a list of the things you would see. Have a look at the photographs taken by Frank Hurley who was the expedition photographer on the Shackleton’s endurance and whose task was to document the expedition.  Imagine what he would have seen through the camera lens. 
Discovering Antarctica
Find out about twelve key events in the history of Antarctica’s discovery and exploration, and practice your longitude and latitude skills.
Find out about Shackleton’s journey - the route he took and the key events of the expedition.

An expedition across the continent


The Imperial Trans-Antarctica Expedition 1914-17, also known as the Endurance Expedition, is considered to be the last major expedition of the heroic age of Antarctica exploration. It was led by Sir Ernest Shackleton and it was an attempt to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. Whilst the expedition did not achieve this it is recognised as an epic feat of endurance. The expedition required two ships: the Endurance for the Weddell Sea party and Aurora for the Ross Sea party. 


For the expedition Ernest Shackleton proposed to sail the Weddell Sea and to land a shore party near Vahsel Bay, in preparation for a transcontinental march through the South Pole to the Ross Sea. A supporting group, the Ross Sea party, would meanwhile travel to the opposite side of the continent, establish camp in McMurdo Sound, and from there lay a series of supply depots across the Ross Ice Shelf to the foot of the Beardmore Glacier.


These depots would be essential for the transcontinental party's survival, as the party would not be able to carry enough provisions for the entire crossing. The expedition required two ships: Endurance under Shackleton for the Weddell Sea party, and Aurora, under Captain Aeneas Mackintosh, for the Ross Sea party.


The Journey


The ship Endurance became beset in the ice of the Weddell Sea before reaching Vahsel Bay. The crew attempted to free the ship, but it was held in the pack ice throughout the Antarctica winter of 1915.


Eventually the ship was crushed and sank. Twenty eight men were stranded on the ice. The crew were forced to spend months in makeshift camps as the ice drifted northwards; they took lifeboats to reach the inhospitable, uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton and five other men then made an 800 mile open boat journey in the whaleboat James Caird to reach South Georgia using a Thomas Mercer chronometer. 


From there, Shackleton was then able to rescue the men waiting on Elephant Island and bring them home. On the other side of the continent, the Ross Sea party also managed to fulfil its mission. The ship Aurora was blown from her moorings during a gale and was unable to return leaving the shore party marooned. The crew managed to survive on previously laid depots, but three men were lost in the process.


Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure

Set sail aboard the Endurance with Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 27-man crew and witness one of the most extraordinary survival stories of all time.

Watch this NERSC (The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre) video that shows data on weather observations made during the Imperial Trans-Antarctica Expedition. Give possible explanations for the routes taken during the expedition.


The red dot marks the route and observations of the Endurance and boats after she sank (including the James Caird). The blue dots mark the voyage of the Aurora (which was laying supply depots for Shackleton on the other side of Antarctica). The video will help you to visualise the route that Endurance took and how the temperature and pressure changed as the expedition continued from 1915 -1917.

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, failed to reach its exploration objectives, but did allow groups of scientists to spend many months in the Antarctic, where they made careful observations of the weather. The expedition records have not been published or systematically analysed, but many have been preserved in the archives of the Scott Polar Research Institute (

Lesson 5- Who was Earnest Shackleton ?

Meet Shackleton’s Team

Look at the advert below for Shackleton’s Expedition. Would you have applied? What characteristics do you think you needed for this expedition?

How do we know about Shackleton’s Expedition?

Explore some of the sources of evidence below:

Survival! The Shackleton Story

Watch this documentary about Shackleton’s Expidition.

Prospectus for the Expedition

In the prospectus for the proposed expedition, Shackleton wrote:

'From the sentimental point of view, it is the last great Polar journey that can be made. It will be a greater journey than the journey to the Pole and back, and I feel it is up to the British nation to accomplish this, for we have been beaten at the conquest of the North Pole and beaten at the conquest of the South Pole. There now remains the largest and most striking of all journeys — the crossing of the Continent.'


Click on the link under the picture to see the whole prospectus.

Diary of ThomasOrde -  Lees
In the following excerpts from a  first-hand account penned by Shackleton's ski and motor-sledge expert, Thomas Orde-Lees, relive the brutally cold and increasingly dangerous days and nights of April 9th to 15th, 1916. 

 9th April 2016

About 2 p.m. we all shoved off, the "Caird," of course, leading. Owing to the bag of sea leopards, we had recently been able to considerably increase the meat ration and had had a good hoosh for luncheon and every one felt very fit and full of hope, but the attempt to break out of the pack in such small boats must fill the most fearless with apprehension.

We pulled hard making about three miles to the north when our further course in that direction was arrested by a bolt of loose pack, whereupon we bore to the westward. In endeavouring to find a channel through the ice belt the Dudley Docker got into difficulties owing to her getting entrapped in a cul de sac, the entrance to which closed behind her before she could be extricated, but by dint of half an hour's shoving and struggling they managed to regain the open lead, but it was a "near thing."

By this time the other two boats had pulled off some distance towards a large tabular berg, against the sides of which the heavy swell was breaking with a loud roar. The Dudley Docker had a job to catch them up.

"The whole pack was in motion as if impelled by some mysterious force."
Immediately after doing so, all three boats passed under the lee of the pack edge when all of a sudden, almost before we realized it, the whole pack was in motion as if impelled by some mysterious force against the direction of the wind and as if descending upon us to once more engulph [sic] us in its awful grip. It was certainly advancing upon us at a speed of over two miles an hour and we had all our work cut out to outstrip it in our heavily laden boats. As it approached, it was creating a regular bow wave—a most uncanny sight. 

Although we were passing through more or less open channels all the time we were never really altogether clear of drift ice and the large lumps of pack or broken bergs, called growlers, and it was necessary to keep a sharp look out to avoid their hitting us or our charging into them.

By 5 p.m. it was getting dusk and shortly after we all pulled up at a small floe, to which the Caird had gone on in advance under sail.

Here we unloaded the boats, hauled them up on to the ice and prepared to spend a quiet night, but it was not to be so, as we shall presently see, in spite of the fact that the swell had somewhat subsided. 

An account of an epic journey

Shackleton's account of his Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition, 'South' was meant to be a factual record of the epic journey.

It was published in 1919, three years after he returned from Antarctic and it's rarely been out of print since.


Lesson 6

Find out about some more recent Antarctic exploration and what it is like to live and work in Antarctica.


Working in Antarctica


Scientists work in Antarctica because it is an important place. The Antarctic ice sheet is over 70% of Earth's fresh water and about 90% of Earth's ice. If it melted, the world's sea level would rise about 70 metres. Cold water, full of oxygen, originates in Antarctica and flows out into the other oceans, helping circulate and refresh ocean waters. The sea surrounding Antarctica is home to marine life from tiny algae to huge whales. Scientists are trying to find out how Antarctica responds to environmental change, which will help them better predict how the rest of Earth will respond to future environmental changes.

People who go to Antarctica must learn many survival skills. 


Special housing is necessary because of the extreme cold and incredible winds that can blast the continent. There are 'melon' and 'apple' huts which are able to be anchored firmly and kept warm. Special clothing and equipment is necessary, and all members of the team must learn some medical skills in case of emergencies. They must learn how to deal with different conditions that may arise, such as 'whiteout' which can occur at any time, when people can hardly see their hand in front of their face. People can easily become lost even if they are close to shelter. 


Find out what it’s like to be a scientist or support team member living and working in the polar regions. Discover the excitement and challenges of life on a busy research station or working deep-field. Visit the British Antarctic Survey website to find out more:

Activity 1 - Postcard from Antarctica

Imagine you are working on an Antarctic Research Station ( use the website above to research them and choose one). Write a postcard home to your family telling them what it is like.

NATURE | Penguin Post Office | Preview | PBS

Maybe you would post your post card here!

Find out about a recent Antarctic Expidition
Watch this video by Dr Huw Griffiths who is a marine biologist working for the British Antarctic Survey. He has been to Antarctica a number of times. He has also visited Moreland several times to tell us more about Antarctica and his work.

Antarctica - More than just penguins!

For all you home schooling heroes out there: An introduction to Antarctica, its wildlife and the British Antarctic Survey for kids of all ages!

Activity 2 - Expedition Proposal

Imagine you are planning your own Antarctic expedition. Write a proposal for your expedition using your knowledge of Antarctica from previous lessons. 
Either print out and complete the form below or write out your proposal if you don’t have a printer.

Lesson 7 - Climate Change

Climate change (according to a kid)

Don't get climate change? Watch an animation explaining the phenomenon as a 12-year-old would