The Alaska SeaLife Center and COSEE-Alaska are excited to present "Southern Exposure", a virtual field trip (VFT) to one of the most remote regions on Earth. Join Dr. Jo-Ann Mellish and her team as they travel to Antarctica's McMurdo Sound to investigate how changing sea ice conditions may impact ice-dependent polar seals, like Antarctica's Weddell seals.
GRADE LEVEL: 5th-8th
TIME NEEDED: Between one and four 1-hour class periods (teachers may choose to use all or part of the supplementary lessons)
NUTSHELL: Students will learn about animal physiology while exploring how changing sea ice conditions may affect ice-dependent Weddell seals.
After completing this virtual field trip, students will be able to:
VIDEO: RESEARCH PROJECT PROMO
Use this short research promo video to get your class excited about Southern Exposure. (0:56)
In this virtual field trip, students will meet Drs. Jo-Ann Mellish, Markus Horning, and Allyson Hindle - a team of animal physiologists collaborating on a project about Antarctica's Weddell seals. Your students will follow Dr. Mellish's research team into the field as they work to answer the questions "What is the 'cost of living' for a polar seal?" and "How will the lives of these seals be impacted as their habitats continue to change?"
This VFT can be used in a number of ways. Individuals may navigate through the pages on their own. Self-guided exploration can be completed in about an hour. Alternately, teachers may facilitate a structured experience, working through each page of the VFT together as a class. Lesson plans (included in the right-hand column of this page) are available to supplement online content.
For a thorough introduction to Weddell seals, we recommend that teachers check out the PolarTrec webinar The Life Science of Weddell Seals with Dr. Jennifer Burns of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Though not affiliated with this project, Dr. Burns' presentation gives teachers a nice overview of current behavioral and physiological research on Weddell seals in Antarctica (40 minutes).
TO USE THIS VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP YOU WILL NEED:
- Internet access, video-streaming capabilities
UNABLE TO RUN THE STREAMING VERSION? REQUEST A FREE COPY OF ALL MATERIALS ON CD BY EMAILING: firstname.lastname@example.org
Weddell seal specific Resources :
General information about Sea Ice:
Education Resources Related to Climate Change:
If you have any questions about this virtual field trip, please contact the Alaska SeaLife Center Education Department at email@example.com or 907-224-6306. For more information on classes we offer, including our inquiry-based Distance Learning programs, visit our website at www.alaskasealife.org.
Use the .pdf links below to access classroom activities for each section of the virtual field trip.