Scientific Research in 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.

Antarctica is a very large continent, but it is still a mystery to most people. Many scientists go down there every year to do scientific research. This lesson will explore some of the important work that they do.

Working in Antarctica

Imagine if going to work meant that you had to travel thousands of miles to get to your office, brave ice and freezing temperatures, and explore places no one has ever been. Would this be tempting to you? If so, you might have what it takes to work in Antarctica!

Antarctica is a large, ice-covered continent at the bottom of the Earth. No one lives there permanently, but some people do go there to work. Most of these people are scientists who are down there to do research, which means they study and collect new information. Because Antarctica is such a unique environment, many things can only be studied there and not anywhere else on Earth. What do the scientists study, exactly? Well, let's find out.

Researchers come to Antarctica for many reasons

Why Antarctica?

A researcher is a person who does research. The researchers that go to Antarctica are scientists who study many things, such as wildlife, astronomy, weather, and geology. Do you think it would be fun to work at the bottom of the world? Thousands of researchers every year think that it would be! There are over 75 permanent and seasonal research stations in Antarctica and thousands of scientists working there, mainly in the summer months.

There are many other reasons to study in Antarctica. One is that Antarctica is not owned by any one country, but instead it is managed by a group of countries. This means there are no borders and the whole continent is open for research and exploration.

Penguins are a focus of wildlife research

Important Research

Wildlife is sometimes a focus of Antarctic research. Even though Antarctica is covered in ice and experiences freezing temperatures year-round, there is still a good amount of wildlife. Penguins, seals, birds, and other animals all live in Antarctica, and the way that they live can tell scientists how animals survive in such a unique place.

Because it is so remote and unexplored, the air has little pollution and this makes it easier to study weather. Also, during the winter months the dark nights last longer than anywhere else on Earth, so it's not a surprise that scientists go there to study astronomy (the sky, stars, and planets).

Part of studying the weather means looking at climate, or the weather patterns over a long period of time. Research done in Antarctica have given scientists a better idea of climate change, or how the climate and weather change over time.

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