Classroom in Antarctica

Classroom in Antarctica
Four teachers begin their trip South to Antarctica, leaving Heathrow on 4th November, to do science projects which will involve their students throughout the expedition through website blogs on and satellite phone calls.  
The expedition is supported and arranged by the Fuchs Foundation, an educational charity set up in recognition of Sir Vivian Fuchs’s achievements through the Trans- Antarctic Commonwealth Expedition 1957/8 and as the first Director of the British Antarctic Survey.
Roussel De Carvalho, Physics teacher, Samuel Ward Arts and Technology College, Haverhill, Suffolk, will test the efficiency of sunscreen and the impact of ultraviolet radiation on Antarctic life measuring the efficiency or inefficiency of the ozone layer.‘This is a project to engage students in real-life Physics-Chemistry of sunscreens as well as educating them about the dangers of UV radiation and skin cancer’.  Roussel will identifiy for his students how life has managed to survive deep in Antarctica, an environment ravaged by UV rays and how it has adapted to survive. 
Lyndsay Hilton, Head of Chemistry, The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester, will study nanoparticles which can only be seen through a high powered microscope (think 10,000th the diameter of a human hair!), in relation to glaciers and clothing. New research has found that the glaciers in Antarctica may contain nanoparticles of iron oxide which may be able to slow global warming.  Through the warming process causing glaciers and icebergs to melt, the iron oxide will be leached into the ocean and boost the growth of phytoplankton and as they photosynthesise they will remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which could slow global warming.   
Lyndsay will also test ‘self cleaning trousers’ and ‘socks that will never smell no matter how long you wear them’ which also contain nanoparticles that have been engineered to produce clothing with special properties.
Tim Miall, Physics teacher, Twyford Church of England High School,  Acton, London,  has worked with schools across the Borough of Ealing and beyond on the theme of ‘Mars on Earth’ designing suitable experiments which are of interest to his students.  These will be psychological studies of the dynamics of the team through mood diaries, and particularly looking at the affects of isolation (Tim is hoping to stay alone in a tent for 24 hours).  Also, looking at the reaction of the body to cold – will the voice be affected ? -  and will body hair grow quicker ?  Whilst on the ice the team will be able to gain results with student updates via email and blogs.
Lisa Wood,  Science Coordinator at Kaizen Primary School, Newham, London, will bring primary science alive with the help of Ricky the puppet which/who is well known to her pupils as an innocent abroad and doesn’t get much right!  Together they will study clothing and equipment under harsh conditions and more.
Once in Antarctica, Ricky will put the pupils’ ideas to the ultimate test to see how they fare under extreme conditions.  Through daily blogs, Ricky will feed back his findings for schools to analyse and compare with their own results and where necessary, he will also call on the assistance of his young team of scientists to help investigate and solve many of the day to day dilemmas which arise whilst he is in the Antarctic!
In addition the team will be carrying out a project to provide ground truth data for the European Space Agency’s (esa) CryoSat satellite.  CryoSat is specifically looking at mapping ice coverage over land and sea in the Polar Regions.  The area to which the expedition will be travelling gives esa a unique opportunity to collect in situ ice measurements to help calibrate the instrumentation on board the satellite.  CryoSat’s flight path will be altered to record data on the ice thickness at the exact location of the expedition.
Editor’s Notes and teachers’ details are an attachment to this email
Contact:   Ann Fuchs, Fuchs Foundation, 01455 202370,
Editors Notes
This expedition is the third of a series of scientific expeditions to be sent by the Foundation to the Polar Regions. The previous two were to the Antarctic in 2007 and the Arctic in 2009.
Fuchs Foundation
It was initially formed by scientists working for the British Antarctic Society (BAS) to mark Sir Vivian Fuchs’s work as the first Director of BAS.  It was to provide education and character training for young people.  In recognition that science and geography are unpopular subjects the Foundation now sends young science and geography teachers to the Polar regions to carry scientific projects which inspires teachers to inspire their students. 
Teachers’ Details
Lyndsay Hilton, Head of Chemistry, The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester, Dorset.     Tel: 07921 314055.  Email:

Lisa Wood, Primary Science AST, Monega Primary School, Newham, London
Tel: 07900 214794   Email:
Tim Miall, Physics teacher, Twyford Church of England High School, Twyford Crescent, Acton, London W3 9PP.
Tel: 07989 418421  Email:
Roussel De Carvalho, Physics teacher, Samuel Ward Arts and Technology College,
Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 OLD

Page last modified: 7th Jun 2012 - 08:53:52