Year 3 are learning about human exploration, focusing on Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica. The expedition failed to reach its goal as unfortunately the Endurance became trapped in the ice and was eventually crushed and sank. Shackleton and his crew had to survive for months in some of the harshest conditions on Earth before finally being able to make their escape and return home. It was therefore particularly special to hear a first-hand encounter of Antarctica from a member of our school community!
Students were brimming with questions for Ms Thew, and were desperate to learn all about her journey to Antarctica, the weather and the landscape. We were shocked to hear that in fact it wasn’t as cold as we’d imagined, and thankfully, Ms Thew did not get frostbite! At the start of the week, Year 3 had used their drama skills to replicate the infamous storms and waves of the Drake Passage in The Endurance ship that had suddenly appeared in the Year 3 shared area. Immersing themselves in the experience, the students have taken on the identities of the actual crew members as well as their roles, such as Frank Worsley (captain), Charles Green (cook) or Frank Hurley (photographer). The teachers have been facilitating the story by taking on the role of Shackleton and guiding the problem-solving and communication while onboard, as well as modelling key language features. This has given Year 3 students a ‘lived experience’ of life as a member of the expedition.
Through their Art learning, the students have been researching the different species of animals found in Antarctica. There were many excited gasps and whispers when students saw how close Ms Thew had been to penguins, seals and even a humpback whale; and giggles when they heard about the clumsy penguins. The assembly also helped to reinforce the reasons behind our Antarctic learning and our ‘One Green Goal’. We all left the assembly inspired and determined to maintain our class and personal goals, knowing that our small changes will make a big difference.