People have lived in the Arctic for thousands of years developing skills, strategies and community knowledge to survive harsh polar conditions. In recent centuries, resource exploitation and political activities imposed by non-Arctic communities have changed the livelihoods and well-being of Arctic residents in good and bad ways. Now, climate change is adding new challenges to the well-being of Arctic communities. Researchers and Arctic community leaders are working together to study how these changes are affecting the health, education and material well-being, culture, food supplies, natural resources and economics of Arctic communities. By combining western science with traditional knowledge, we can learn a lot about people and how they adapt.
What is a community? - A group of interacting people living in a common location, individuals who share cultural, ethnic and moral traditions.
Print out of this activity
A little bit of imagination and creativity!
How to prepare
Plan a class discussion related to the activity below. [NOTE: Participants can be from any grade or subject such as English, social studies, science, health, etc]
If you plan to use the internet as an active part of your Polar Day activities, register your class before Sept 22nd.... WATCH THIS SPACE for details
Classroom Discussions: Explore the following questions about your community:
1. How would you describe your community?
2. What is life like where you live?
3. How does the physical environment of WHERE you live affect HOW you live?
4. What are some of the changes you are seeing in your community?
5. What issues are you experiencing in your community?
6. How is life different for you than for your parents or grandparents at the same age?
7. How would you like your life to be when you are their age and how do we get there?
Now look at it from the opposite perspective: For example, if you live in a non-arctic area such as Australia or the U.S. mid-west, choose a community in an Arctic area (i.e. Greenland or the Canadian Arctic) where students are answering these same questions and see if you can put yourself in their shoes. What would their answers be? Or, if you live in northern Norway, pick a non-arctic area like Brazil and imagine what their lives are like.
Share your ideas globally in the Discussion section & Gallery!
registration instructions (PDF)
Registration Code: polardaycollaborator
Students with internet can join live throughout the week and those with no internet access can compile their ideas and ask a teacher to post them when possible. We look forward to hearing from you, wherever you are in the world!
Here are some of the ways you can share ideas:
Post any video, audio, PowerPoint, or photo files in the Gallery that represent your class discussions
Post your written answers in the Discussion section and paste a link to your Gallery submission
Compare your submissions to schools in different areas:
o How are your communities similar?
o How are they different?
o Do you share similar experiences?
Ask an expert!
Researchers are exploring social and health issues similar to the ones you will discuss in and between your communities. After you’ve tried your hand at social science, what questions do you have for the experts? What else do you want to know about the health, environment, and lifestyles of people in Arctic communities?
Make your mark on the map!
Launch a virtual balloon on the Polar Day map to show your participation in this International Polar Day: People at the Poles.
Many thanks to Max Holmes for the artwork from a student in the Sakha republic, Siberia. For more details of how Max's arctic research resulted in an on-going relationship with the local community, please check out the Student Partners Project. Thanks to Lars Poort for the dogsled winners photo from Greenland.