Module 1 • Arctic Exploration: Traveling on the Land
Activity 1-5
3. To illustrate what happens and how it feels when our body begins to cool down, the students will
test how exposure to cold affects their dexterity.
Divide students into groups of three. Each group assigns a timekeeper and a recorder. Give each
group a pan of ice water to be maintained at fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Spread out twenty pennies
on the desk and have students take turns picking them up and placing them in a plastic cup. Have
them time how long it takes for each trial. Repeat the experiment, but this time, instruct each
student to first hold his or her hand in the ice water for sixty seconds. As a class, discuss the results
(graph if appropriate) and identify the specific trends.
4. Now ask students to do twenty rapid jumping jacks. Do they get warm? What happens to athletes
when they work hard? Do they sweat? Discuss with students how keeping dry (managing sweat)
is as important as keeping warm when it comes to survival and comfort in the Arctic. Ask students
how dressing in layers helps the team members on the GoNorth! expedition stay warm (because
it allows the team members to quickly adjust body temperature by adding or removing layers to
minimize sweat.)
5. Ask students why they think it is important that the materials worn in the Arctic “breathes” like
our skin (and animal hide)?
6. Divide the students into teams of two. Each team assigns a “test person,” and a “scientist.” The
scientist cut the plastic bag into a single-layered square large enough to fit comfortably around
the forearm of the test person, then places the piece of plastic around the forearm and tapes it
securely (but not too tightly) at the top and bottom. The test person should now exercise for at
least five minutes, for example, by running up and down the stairs in intervals of two minutes of
running alternating with one minute walking; or by alternately walking and doing jumping jacks
on the spot.
Respiration rate and pulse should be recorded at the beginning and the end of the experiment.
The scientist should record whether the skin of the test person released any water condensation
during the exercise. Next, remove the bag, and note the moisture level of the skin that was under
the plastic as compared to skin exposed to air during the exercise. Discuss the results.
7. Pass out or project Student Page 1-5 “Mukluks & Other Arctic Designs.” Referring to the image of
explorer Matthew Henson, who was in the team that first reached the north pole in 1909, reflect
on how all successful historic expeditions relied on traditional knowledge for surviving polar con-
ditions. Project or share figures one through five, showcasing anorak, mittens, hat, and mukluks.
As a group, evaluate the influence and significance of Arctic design.
Ask students to find similarities between garments from the native Chukchi and Yu’pik people of
Chukotka (figure five) and how GoNorth! team member Aaron Doering is dressed and (figure
six). Why do they think Aaron is wearing mukluks like the Chukchi and Yu’pik People? Brainstorm
why mukluks (made of animal hide) are optimal for traveling in the cold. Have students draw con-
clusions and list the benefits of the mukluk which should include the following:
The bottoms of mukluks are made of soft untreated hide, therefore:
– Mukluks can “breathe” (keeps feet dry).
– Mukluks are flexible like a pair of slippers, which means movement of the foot is not restricted
(foot bends when one takes a step or moves the ski forward), which stimulates blood circulation.
– Mukluks are lightweight (less tiring).
*This activity is in part an adaptation of “Perspiration Inspiration” authored by Newton’s Apple.
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