Explorers of Antarctica: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristin Pia Hayman

Kristin taught for over 10 years in the elementary classroom. She holds a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

For over a hundred years, people have been venturing to Antarctica to try and explore this icy continent. This lesson will look at some of the more famous explorers and what they accomplished.

Why Antarctica?

What would you say if you were asked to go to one of the coldest and most dangerous places on Earth? Would you be up to the challenge? Over the last several hundred years, many brave explorers have tried to find out more about the mysterious, frozen continent of Antarctica. An explorer is a person who takes risks to find out new information and journey to new places.

Although there have been hundreds of journeys to Antarctica, this lesson explores some of the most famous expeditions. Some were successful, and some were not, but they all required courage and determination to explore a barely known land.

Antarctica can be a beautiful, but very dangerous place to explore

Roald Amundsen

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole. However, it certainly wasn't an easy quest. He had originally planned a journey to be the first to reach the North Pole, but when he found out that another explorer had already reached it, he decided to try the South Pole instead. After months of preparation at a base camp in Antarctica, the crew set out for the South Pole. It took them almost two months to arrive!

Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole

Ernest Shackleton

The expedition by Ernest Shackleton from 1914-1916 is one of the most heroic tales of survival ever told. The crew was hoping to be the first to travel across Antarctica. But their ship got stuck in ice for ten months! It was eventually crushed, and they had escape in lifeboats to find nearby land. They ate penguins, seals, and unfortunately even their sled dogs. As captain of the crew, Shackleton took charge. He left with just a few of the men and used a tiny rowboat to travel 800 miles to find help. For four months he braved very dangerous waters until he found help. Amazingly all 28 crew members were rescued!

Shackleton and his crew were stranded for many months

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