M u s e u m  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Exploring the Arctic

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Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario

Introduction to the Arctic
In this lesson, you will be able to provide students with a baseline introduction to the Arctic's natural world and people who live there. Following an educational journey with the Canadian Museum of Nature and Students on Ice, to the Arctic, this lesson provides brief descriptions of that journey as well as a general introduction to the animals, plants and natural history of this polar region.

Lesson framework and materials:
- This lesson should cover 1 class period for grades 9-12.
- Computers with internet access can be used to explore the website expeditionarctic.ca, which follows the journey in more depth.
- A notebook to write down observations and reflections.
Expedition Arctic
Canadian Museum of Nature
© 2013, Canadian Museum of Nature. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Iced in at Frobisher Bay
The Students on Ice expedition team, including scientists from the Canadian Museum of Nature, arrived in Iqaluit, Nunavut to find the harbour, Frobisher Bay, was covered in sea ice. This proved to be problematic for the team as this was the location where the expedition vessel, the Akademik Ioffe, was set to pick everyone up to set sail on the two-week journey.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Students and Sea Ice
While waiting out the weather in Iqaluit, youth, scientists and educators from Students on Ice make the best of the situation!
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Under Coast Guard escort
Once all of the expedition team had made it safely on board their expedition vessel Akademik Ioffe, the Coast Guard icebreaker then cut a path through the ice in Frobisher Bay.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Arctic Natural History
Paleontologists are constantly discovering new fossils in the Canadian Arctic. Fossils come in many shapes and sizes and are simply the remains of prehistoric organisms. From land mammals to aquatic fish, fossils of plants and trees also exist. See how Puijila darwini was discovered by scientists from the Canadian Museum of Nature.
Canadian Museum of Nature
© 2013, Canadian Museum of Nature. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Arctic Plants
Plants are very hardy organisms that grow in the harshest of environments. They can range in size, colour, shape, smell, taste and texture.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Microscopic life and Biology
Microscopic marine life is an important part of the Arctic. From plankton and seaweed to algae and diatoms all play an important role in the Arctic chain of life. Watch a fresh water dynoflagellate move under a microscope.
Michigan Technological University
© Video by Dr. Michael R. Gretz, Michigan Technological University
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Arctic Mammals and Birds
There are many mammals and birds that live in the Arctic. Many live in different environments such as on ice, on cliffs or even in the water.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Wildlife along the way
See the incredible wildlife that the scientists and students saw!
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Climate Change in the Arctic
Dr. Eric Galbraith, an oceanographer and climate modeler, explains the incredible nature of climate change.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Fossil Fuels
Eric Glabraith describes the effects burning of fossil fuels.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Country Food
The members of the expedition team were treated to some local food such as Arctic Char, clams, narwhal, bannock and hot tea.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also called the Aurora Borealis, are visible in the Arctic.
Students on Ice
© 2013, Students on Ice. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Auyuittuq National Park
Large mountains that are partially covered with white clouds.
This area is part of Auyuittuq National Park, an incredible Canadian natural history treasure. The park protects almost 20,000 square kilometers of glacier-swept mountains, valleys and lakes.

HabitatSeven




© 2013, Canadian Museum of Nature. All Rights Reserved.
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Learning Object: Introducing the Arctic
Suggested Activity
Have the students explore the ExpeditionArctic.ca website and answer the following reflection questions:

Specific questions:
- What makes the Arctic a unique region within Canada?
- Why is the Arctic important to the rest of Canada?
- How are you connected to the Arctic?
- Why study the Arctic?
- What are some current issues affecting the Arctic region?
- What were some of the different ecosystems you learned about?
- What are some of the organisms that call the Arctic home?

General questions:
- What interested you the most?
- What is one thing you would like to know more about?

Learning Objectives

Students will:

- Develop a general understanding about the Arctic.
- Learn about the Arctic's different ecosystems and natural world.