• <More on Intel.com

The Friendly Freezer

The Friendly Freezer

Unit Summary

Students as environmentalists research and explore climate, physical features, fauna, flora and the scientific bases in Antarctica and reason out why is it impossible to live permanently in Antarctica. They study the impact of global warming on the continent and reason out the essential question, How are we (Human activities) responsible? Realizing the significance of the Antarctic Treaty, they find answers for the unit question why should we nurture international understanding? As Crusaders for a cause they create awareness among the people through presentations, posters and an information kiosk about the significance of the Antarctic Treaty, the reason for global warming and enlist their help to combat the problem.

Curriculum Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    How are we responsible?
  • Unit Questions
    Are all deserts hot and dry?
    Why should we nurture international understanding?
  • Content Questions
    How is the North Frigid Zone different from South Frigid Zon
    How do you account for the presence of an active volcano Mt. Erebus under the ice?
    What are the provisions of the Antarctic treaty?
    Why is the continent called the continent of science?


Assessment Timeline

This timeline shows in chronological order the different types of formal and informal assessments that occur during the unit. The table below explains how each assessment is used and who uses it for what purpose.

Assessment Timeline

Before project
work begins
Students work on projects
and complete tasks
After project work
is complete

  • Informal Discussion
  • T chart


  • Graphic organizer - Venn Diagram
  • Project Plan
  • Group task rubric
  • Research and Reasoning rubric
  • Project Meetings
  • Questioning
  • Reasoning Checklist
  • Observation Log
  • Information Kiosk Checklist
  • Multimedia Presentation Rubric
  • Newsletter Rubric



Process and Purpose of Assessment

Venn diagram Rubric (doc)

Students use a Venn diagram to compare the North Pole and the South Pole. This visual representation of their learning helps them to organize information which they use later to explore Antarctica their unit of study. The teacher uses the Graphic Organizer to gauge the student’s previous knowledge and their readiness and their understanding.

T Chart

Students use the T Chart to compare the countries situated beyond Arctic Circle, the continents they belong to and the continent in the south; the organisms found beyond the Arctic Circle, to organisms living beyond Antarctic Circle and natives living here. T chart helps students organize their thoughts and identify key points to focus their research on.

Project Plan

Planning the project with the teacher. Students develop a plan to refer to throughout the project, it helps them monitor their progress, adjust as necessary, reflect on the process, and ask for guidance when needed.
Helps them to direct their own learning. They plan their research strategies, synthesize information and evaluate their work.

Research and Reasoning Rubric (doc)

Assess the content, concept and process development. Students base their opinions on evidences collected from various sources (Research). Students investigate and synthesize information. Students differentiate between correlation and causation. Students explain reasoning processes and conclusions clearly and thoroughly.

Project Meetings

Students use to check progress, maintain commitments in group work, and plan next steps. Checklist with milestones, due dates, and approval stages are maintained and are brought to the meetings. Teacher uses to monitor progress, brief regular team and individual meetings throughout the project.

Group Task Rubric (doc)

The students assess their own group work skills using the rubric.
The student’s depth of understanding, their ability to interpret and make conjectures, raise questions and communicate their ideas is assessed.
Group processes such as contribution, accountability, time management and ability to listen to others ideas is also assessed.

Reasoning Checklist (doc)

The presentation on causes, effects and remedies of global warming is assessed using a reasoning check list.
Evaluates students ability to form and support opinions, predict, draw conclusions, determine cause and effect and finally communicate.

Observation Log (doc)

Use throughout the project by taking notes, while groups work together to complete tasks. This supports assessment of collaboration skills.

Multimedia Rubric (doc)

Students use the rubric to ensure they’ve met the expectations as they research on Antarctica and present their findings. Peers use the rubric to provide feedback to the presenters.

Newsletter Rubric (doc)

Students use the rubric to ensure they’ve met the expectations as they publish articles in the newsletter on unique features of Antarctica. Peers use the rubric to provide feedback to the presenters.

Informational Kiosk Checklist (doc)

The final assessment of the whole project. The informational Kiosk checklist helps to assess the products, setting up display, effective communication and checking if CFQ’s are answered.
The feed back received from the students who were invited to view the display.

Instructional Procedures


  1. The teacher starts the topic with an informal discussion about features of different climatic zones and asks the students to list the factors affecting the different climate zones.
  2. Through a graphic organizer - Venn diagram the students bring out the similarities and differences between the North Pole and South Pole. Venn diagram Rubric (doc) helps them organise their thoughts and differentiate. The graphic organizers are displayed on the bulletin board.
  3. The teacher pins up newspaper articles on ozone depletion, the Kyoto protocol, the Canadian Montréal Protocol and the role of developed nations in accelerating ozone depletion on the class bulletin board. The students are asked to read the articles and discuss the Essential question - How are we responsible?

Project Work

  1. The students are assigned role of environmentalists to study the effect of global warming on Antarctica.
  2. The students visit http://www.enchantedlearning.com/geography/antarctica/* and http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/vtour/* and other websites to take a virtual tour of the continent.
  3. The teacher gives an overview of their project with expected goals and guidelines using a multimedia presentation.
  4. The young environmentalists are given a detailed project checkliston “what they need to do and when” and the checklist is reviewed after completion of each task.


  1. The environmentalists conduct research on the unique features of Antarctica with reference to its base camps, flora and fauna and publish articles in the newsletter.
  2. The young environmentalists also collect information on climatic variation with special stress on increase in temperature, over the years. They investigate the reasons for global warming and observe the relation between ozone depletion and global warming. They discuss and debate upon the cause and effect of global warming and recommend solutions for combating the problem. They prepare a multimedia presentation on cause, effects and remedies of global warming and share it with the rest of the school.
  3. The dynamics of the groups are evaluated as per the group task rubric (doc).
  4. The posters, presentations and newsletters are assessed using multimedia rubric (doc) and newsletter rubric (doc).

Research and Reasoning

  1. They conduct a detailed study about the scientific base camps and Indian base camp in Antarctica visiting websites like www.ncaor.nic.in*.
  2. They create a time line using MS Excel on number of expeditions from India to Antarctica. The time lines give detail about the purpose and achievement of the expeditions. The time lines are assessed as per the research and reasoning rubric (doc).The time lines are displayed on the school bulletin board.
  3. They debate about the existence of base camps of different countries in one continent and wonder how these scientific base camps belonging to different countries co- exist.
  4. They discuss the effect of violating the treaty and find answer to the unit question why should we nurture international understanding?
  5. The students through posters share the significance and provisions of the Antarctic Treaty. They decide to pursue this line of study and collect more information India's Role in fostering world peace and universal brother hood.
  6. The students take an online quiz at http://www.enchantedlearning.com/shortanswer/antarctica/*
  7. The teams review the checklist periodically. Teacher maintains an observation log during group work.

Information Kiosk

  1. They set up an informational kiosk containing all the products they have created so far. Students and teachers form the four schools in the vicinity are invited.
  2. The kiosk is assessed on the basis of the check list both by the peers and teacher and on the feed back form filled in by the visitors to the kiosk.

Ms. Aruna Maruthi from M E S Kishora Kendra, Bangalore participated in the Intel® Teach Program, which resulted in this idea for an assessment plan.

The Friendly Freezer

At a Glance

Grade Level: 6
Subject: Geography
Topic: Antarctica
Key Learnings:  Explore continent Antarctica – climate, physical features, and scientific base camps, Antarctic Treaty, effect of pollution on Antarctica.
Time Needed: 4 weeks, six classes + two lab classes per week, forty minutes per class.

What You Need

Standards >