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Cycling to the South Pole

Topic: 3C Characteristics of materials

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton has become the first person to use a bike on part of an expedition to reach the South Pole. It was a journey of 500 miles (805km) across Antarctica and she cycled for large parts of it, as well as snow-kiting and walking. This trek was for Sport Relief. In Jan/Feb, the average temperature in Antarctica is -25C, but can drop to -50C. Severe coastal winds come from cold air flowing down off the interior ice sheet. Wind speeds can reach up to 125mph (201km/h) and average about 80mph.

In this activity children will consider the features of a bike made for these conditions and what materials might be used and why.

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Click to Download Cycling to the South Pole activity
Cycling to the South Pole activity

Click to Download Cycling to the South Pole teacher notes
Cycling to the South Pole teacher notes

   

that different materials have different functions

Children will demonstrate this by completing the task on page 3 successfully.

that different materials behave differently in the same conditions.

Children will demonstrate this by completing the task on page 3 successfully.

how new materials have been developed over time and that these can be more effective than those used originally

Children will demonstrate this by completing the task on page 4 successfully.

   
Web Links

Telegraph
Story behind the activity

The National Strategies
Website for Assessing Pupils' Progress (APP)

CBBC
Follow the expedition online with this regularly updated diary by Helen Skelton

BBC Nature
Describes the habitats to be found in the Antarctic

BBC News
A detailed article describing the features of the bicycle and discussing the challenges ahead for the riders

British Antarctic Survey
Website contains resources for schools and useful links to other websites. They also offer visits to schools where children can learn more about conditions in the Antarctic.

Cool Antarctica
The website introduces some facts about Antarctica. Answers some commonly posed questions. Describes the region's landscape and climate amongst others.

 
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