Eco-squad have been doing some fantastic homework, learning about appliances and machines, and where the energy used to run them comes from. The work is displayed in the corridor if you would like to take a look.
We have received this email from Samantha Buzzard about the flags for Antarctica that Eco-squad designed:
“Great news, your flags are on their way to Antarctica! They are travelling with David Mall from the Durham University who works on understanding how ice sheets have responded to past climate change with the aim of providing information that can help us better understand the future of the present day ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.”
We’re all looking forward to seeing the flags in Antarctica!
To celebrate Antarctica Day (which is on the 1st of December) we were given the opportunity at Chrishall of a live telephone conversation with a polar explorer. We were assigned Ben Keitch who is a meteorologist and electronics specialist, working for the British Antarctic Survey and he also had a colleague with him, who is a pilot answering questions too. Class Newton and Eco-squad received the phone call today in Class Newton at 10 O’Clock after having watched a short video message from a team of workers from Bird Island. (The link to the video is at the bottom of the page.) Ben and his colleague work at the Rothera Research Station.
Children from Class Newton and Eco-squad were well prepared and had many interesting questions to ask. We learnt such a lot – for example that the most common penguin there is the Adele penguin, that in Antarctica it is Summer at the moment, and that the temperature at its warmest there is about -4degC.
Camille asked whether they ate different things to us, and they do, because they have dried food which they re-constitute in water, but apparently it doesn’t taste too bad! They had recently eaten some biscuits that had been there since the 1970s, that tasted fine, but also some old meat had been found and they thought it best not to try that. The cold temperatures mean that the food is preserved for a lot longer.
Jack W’s question was asking whether they fly planes regularly – they do, and the planes have skis on the bottom, and it is quite difficult (and exciting) to land because you have to find a patch of ice large enough.
Amelia asked whether they would be spending Christmas there. Ben said that he and his colleagues would, but that they would celebrate but also be working on Christmas Day because they have to make the most of the time that they are out there.
Caitlin found out that they have to wear many layers of clothes when they go outside, and that the top layer is rather like a sleeping bag. It sounded very time consuming to get changed when they come inside, and they have to be careful not to get too sweaty when working.
Hettie asked which 5 things are important to take. Ben said that he had taken his mobile phone, but that was useless because there was no signal. He had also taken his laptop but that was also useless because he had forgotten to pack his adaptor. Both Ben and his colleague agreed that the most useful thing is to have sunglasses, and also some photos of family. Harriett asked the same question that she asked Tim Peake – does your nose get runny or is it dry? She found that your nose is mostly quite dry in Antarctica, although sometimes when you go outside it can run a little, and then that freezes so that you get crunchy nose hair! That sounded quite uncomfortable!
Makundi wanted to know why the ice caps are melting. There are many scientists in Antarctica working on that problem and many areas still to solve.
Elliott wanted to find out what the most interesting animal that Ben had spotted whilst he was there, and Ben had recently seen some orka (killer whale) and humpback whales, also penguins, terns, and elephant seals – which apparently don’t do much apart from making rude bodily noises!
William T wanted to know whether they had seen the Southern lights and was interested to hear about that. There were may more questions as you can imagine and these are just a taster.
As we finished asking questions we were all excited to see it snowing heavily outside. Ben was interested to hear why we wanted to know about Antarctica and he was pleased to hear about the flags that are being sent to Antarctica and that we will be working on the Polar Explorer programme. He said we should do the experiment about insulating properties. We will definitely be making sure we do that one, as it does sound fun and let him know how we get on.
Many thanks to Mrs Didier’Serre for suggesting to Mrs Bicknell the use of the United Nations website. There are some excellent ideas on how to be sustainable.
Here are the minutes from today’s Eco-squad meeting.
Eco-squad have designed some lovely Antarctica flags for homework. They have thought very carefully about what they want to be represented, and it wasn’t an easy task. Mrs Holloway will be having a look at the flags and helping us to decide which ones should be scanned and sent to Sammie Buzzard at UKPN. The flags will be laminated once received at UKPN and then we can look forward to them being taken by a flag bearer to Antarctica! This all ties in very nicely with the Polar explorer project that we are starting at Chrishall. Well done Eco-squad!