Race to the South Pole brings science out of the cold

25 Sep 2008

QinetiQ, one of the world's leading defence and security technology companies, has launched the Team QinetiQ Learning Zone: a website packed full of case studies, teaching notes and classroom challenges to support teachers who are putting science into practice and inspiring a new generation of potential young scientists. The Learning Zone follows Ben Fogle, BBC TV presenter, James Cracknell, Olympic gold medallist, and QinetiQ scientists who are helping the duo prepare for their race to the South Pole in December 2008. The learning zone brings to life the subjects of nutrition, teamwork, physical fitness, sleep, portable power, communication and the Antarctic environment.

The Learning Zone was developed in conjunction with teachers, national bodies and other experts to meet Key Stage 3 of the national science curriculum for children aged 11-14. It includes a new CREST Bronze Award, created in association with the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) for pupils to design a jacket to wear in the cold Antarctic environment. Achieving a Bronze Award entitles pupils to enter a competition and win a visit from Ben and James to their school during National Science and Engineering Week in March 2009. Pupils will be able to present their designs to Ben and James, who will tell the whole school about their experiences in the race.

Clive Richardson, Chief Operating Officer, QinetiQ EMEA said: "This is the first race to the South Pole since Scott and Amundsen's legendary duel nearly 100 years ago and it remains an enormous challenge for any team. This time, with Team QinetiQ, Ben and James have got access to some of the best scientific research and knowledge to help them. It's an exciting opportunity for pupils to follow their journey, learn about the incredible environment in the Antarctic and be inspired and involved by the science behind Team QinetiQ’s preparation for the race."

James Cracknell, former geography teacher at Heathlands School in Hounslow explains: "This race is a rare opportunity to go to one of the world's harshest environments and we know that we have to learn a lot about Antarctica. We decided that we couldn't miss the chance to bring the South Pole and all the science behind our preparations into the classroom. The Learning Zone on the Team QinetiQ website is an amazing resource for teachers and pupils. During my short teaching career I would have loved to have had access to this kind of resource when I was putting together lesson plans."

Commenting on the chance for pupils to get involved with the South Pole race Ben Fogle added: "We want as many pupils as possible to feel that they are part of our team in the race – the Learning Zone will really help them to engage with us. It will bring to life the science and technology that is supporting us and hopefully give them a taste of the types of exciting careers available to them by taking their science or engineering studies further.

QinetiQ People Who Know How
Race to the South Pole brings science out of the cold