I was not hugely inspired by the thought of Antarctica…all that snow and ice, a research station and lots of penguins. However, thanks Usborne’s “Polar Adventures” it developed into a fascinating project, and led onto a trek up to the Artic, too.
We read about three explorers who ventured to the South Pole; Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. We then compared the stories of Cook and Peary, as each endeavoured to be first to the North Pole. And finally we watched videos on Rae and Franklin in their attempts to navigate the North West Passage.
We not only learned some of the geography and wildlife of the poles while studying these men, but it lead to some in depth discussions about leadership. They all had immense perseverance, physical endurance and many other worthy character qualities, but we decided we would most have wanted to serve under Shackleton. He listened to and learnt from those who lived in Arctic conditions and used their knowledge for his trips, he worked alongside his team, rather than staying aloof from them, he appeared to be a good judge of character, to be kind and able to make tough decisions and carry them out. I especially liked his approach when he know they would have to overwinter in the Antarctic when their ship became frozen in ice. He ensured they had a daily routine, daily exercise and frequent celebrations. These are exactly my tactics for getting us through the dreary months of winter!
We learnt about polar bears and penguins, and read a delightful story “A promise is a promise” which gave us a tiny peek into Inuit culture.
We happened to be listening to “Winter Holiday” by Arthur Ransome at the time, which fitted in very well, and led us on some interesting tangents.
Although we could have done a fish meal, caribou, seal, polar bears and walruses are certainly not available at Lidl, so I opted for Arctic roll, which everyone loved!
As always our learning led us down paths I’d not predicted which makes it all the more fun as we never know what will be round the next corner!