New online resource from the London Grid for Learning and the Scott Polar Research Institute engages pupils with the history of polar exploration

Polar Exploration in the Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery is the title of a new cross-curricular resource for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 from the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), designed to provide pupils with a detailed understanding of the dramatic and fascinating history of polar exploration. The resource is available to all schools connected to the National Education Network (NEN).

KS2 lesson plans span Maths, English, Science, Geography, History, Computing and D&T, whereas KS3 and 4 focus on English and Literacy, covering elements of creative writing for both Key Stages, and with applications for GCSE and iGCSE.

SPRI has granted exclusive access to its archive of materials from the most famous and significant polar expeditions of the twentieth century. Features include: video footage of equipment and artefacts from the most famous expeditions, over 200 high-resolution photographs of artefacts and journal extracts read by a descendant of a member of Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition. To allow users to appreciate the time and scale of the polar expeditions, there is an interactive map of the Polar Regions showing the main expedition routes with key locations and associated multimedia resources. Insight is also provided by a modern-day polar explorer who tells of his experiences living in some of the world’s most extreme environments.

LGfL has taken all these materials and combined them into a user-friendly online interface that positions learners at Captain Scott’s desk, surrounded by the polar ‘tools of the trade’. With a click, teachers and pupils can access extracts from Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton’s journals, stories from explorer and polar expert Peter Clarkson, expedition summaries, a timeline, maps and a glossary of all key terms.

Integrated lesson plans guide teachers through the resource.  A built-in resource bank enables teachers to embed photos, images, video and audio recordings into existing lesson plans, schemes of work or learning pathways within online learning platforms.

Bob Usher, content manager at LGfL, said:After 3 years of intensive development we are delighted to have realised our vision to support teachers across the NEN to develop a deeper appreciation of the extreme hardship and achievement of our twentieth century polar explorers. Through the generous support of our partners at SPRI, we have been able to bring to life the experiences, challenges and new found knowledge developed from these expeditions, many of which have contributed significantly to our understanding of the natural and scientific world.”

Heather Lane, former Keeper of Collections and Manager of The Polar Museum, SPRI said: “This exciting project allows SPRI to make our world-renowned collections and the expertise of our staff accessible to a new generation of students and to engage them in polar science and the history of exploration. We have been delighted to partner with LGfL to bring the stories of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration to a new audience.”

The resource is available to any school connected to the NEN via their Regional Broadband Grid. No login is required for schools who are part of the LGfL community, and home access is available to all LGfL and TRUSTnet schools via the USO log in service.

Further information about the resource can be found at: and the resource can be accessed via the authenticated link:

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