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Arctic Blast 2001

Education Curriculum & Lesson Plans

Online Classroom Dogsled Expedition

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Arctic Blast 2001
Collaborative Learning Adventure

On February 12, 2001, Team Arctic Blast and 20 polar huskies will depart from Churchill, just near the southern border of the new Canadian Territory of Nunavut. Via the magnetic North Pole, the team will reach Grise Fiord (Gree-sa-fee-ORD), the northernmost inhabited village in North America, by the end of May. The distance traveled will be almost 2,500 miles, which is equivalent to pulling a sled from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, California... or from Copenhagen, Denmark to Morocco in Africa!

Team Arctic Blast is from Nomads Adventure and Education Inc., which was founded in 1996. Nomads sole mission is to create an interactive educational program with the expedition being the backdrop. Nomads primary goal is to use the allure of sled dogs and the magic of the Arctic to promote innovative educational opportunities, and global awareness. They are dedicated to developing quality content that enables teachers and students all over the world to become Arctic explorers. Their mission is to inspire a global exchange of ideas, instill a sense of environmental responsibility, foster cultural understanding, and create adventurous spirits.

Traveling with sled dogs is so unique to the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic that there is a special word to describe the experience. Qimuksiit (kee-MOOK-see-it) means dogs and people traveling together as a unit. The dogs personalties are powerful and free spirited, and their emotional capacity makes each one a close friend. The dogs are the backbone of the Nomads Adventure & Education program. On the trail, they are integral members of the expedition whose strength, character, and insight are valuable assets. The dogs continuously challenge our conventional thinking; their passion is contagious.

The Arctic Blast 2001 Team

Paul Pregont. Expedition co-leader. A former world champion downhill skier, Paul was a team member of 1995 International Arctic Project, or I.A.P., a four-month traverse of the Arctic Ocean by dog sled and canoe hauling (see National Geographic, January 1996). He has racked up over 10,000 miles of winter and arctic travel in frigid locales from northern Minnesota to Alaska to Hudson Bay. In 1997, Paul led a 400-mile dog sled journey along the Bering Sea for Japanese television. He is founder of Mid States Recycling and Nomads Adventure & Education.

Mille Pregont Porsild. Expedition co-leader. Mille has arctic travel in her genes. Her great grandfather was the famous Arctic explorer Morten Porsild, a contemporary of Robert Peary. She began working with the IAP in 1992, logging thousands of miles behind dog teams. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, she is a published author and fluent in five languages. Mille is co-founder of Nomads Adventure & Education. She is an enthusiastic educator dedicated to promoting environmental responsibility, cultural understanding, and the joys of arctic travel.

Our Dogs. The Arctic Blast sled dogs were originally bred by Internationally renown explorer, Will Steger, for use during his many polar travels. Over the last twenty years, the dogs and their ancestors have been across the Arctic and Antarctica for tens of thousands of miles on different expeditions. Polar Huskies are bigger, broader, and heavier than their better-known cousins, the Alaskan Husky who are primarily used for racing. Our dogs are bred for greater endurance and tolerance of extreme weather. They are very strong, friendly, and extremely loyal, each has a unique personality and brings a special component to the team.

The Arctic Blast 2001 Polar Husky Roster. Choko, Aksel, Polar, Charlie, Freja, Disko, Spook, Spank, Cola, Peto, Sable, Cassie, Terex, Lipton, Khan, Hershey, Timber, Griffin, Nuka, Elf

Teaching with Arctic Blast
The Arctic Blast 2001 educational program provides the opportunity for teachers, students, and adventurers of all ages to participate in and learn from an Arctic expedition. This program includes an extensive website, access to a nationally accredited curriculum package and the Collaboration Zone which provides the opportunity for classrooms across North America to collaborate on important topics and participate in chats with the expedition team.

The complete Arctic Blast experience includes:

Online Classroom - Open for all

The Arctic Blast Web site, www.arcticblast.polarhusky.com, is the centerpiece of this year’s online program - merging the expedition, educational goals, and the needs of your classroom. Within the web site, you will find all you need to know about the Arctic Blast expedition as well as in-depth information on arctic issues that ultimately relate to global perspectives. Other website highlights include journals, pictures, movie clips, audio clips, and games which lead students into hands-on activities, both on and offline. Start each week with an in-depth look at the "On the Expedition" section of the website. Within this area, you will find "Weekly Topic and News" which merges the expedition, educational goals, and the needs of teachers in one succinct format. Also, receive weekly trail updates from "Trekking with the Polar Huskies."

Curriculum Package - Free to download

The nationally accredited curriculum package contains 16 units and is designed specifically to compliment each week of the Arctic Blast 2001 expedition. The reproducible activities in this curriculum package are designed to immediately engage students in active research, experiments, and other problem solving activities. Each activity clearly states the learner outcomes and provides ample workspace for students.

The Collaboration Zone - Available to the first 1,000 North American schools.

The Collaboration Zone offers an opportunity for classrooms to collaborate with each other and communicate with the expedition team as they travel through the Arctic. The Zone has eight study circles using Lotus QuickPlace allowing classrooms to exchange ideas and collaborate on important topics such as pollution and the Inuit culture. Students and teachers will also have the ability to communicate live with the expedition team through a moderated chat using Lotus Sametime.

Ideally, we would like all schools to participate in more than just a "map and follow" activity. Our curriculum is designed in an easy-to-use format so that teachers can integrate the expedition’s resources into their classroom experience. Each week, the weekly topic is introduced and highlighted on the Arctic Blast website while the expedition team dovetails from the trail, drawing parallels from the print on paper (or screen) to real life experiences and current social issues, creating many teachable moments. Though we encourage involvement in the entire program, the easy and well-rounded format of each unit gives teachers the ability to use individual topics as effective lessons.

Calendar of Topics from Curriculum

Each week Team Arctic Blast will focus on one topic from the Curriculum Package. The weekly theme will dictate the dialogue, messages, and video originating from Team Arctic Blast.

Please see the "Calendar" in the Teacher Lounge section on the Arctic Blast 2001 website for the latest updates.

This calendar will also give you the dates for:
  • Trail updates
  • Lotus Sametime Moderated Chat events
  • Weekly Q & A

The Collaboration Zone
The Collaboration Zone is an essential part of the Arctic Blast educational program. In the past, the technology associated with creating "study circles" as an enhancement to an expedition has been fairly limited. By partnering with Lotus Development Corporation and Connectria, the Arctic Blast team has created an interactive collaborative environment. Students and teachers throughout North America will be able to voice opinions, exchange ideas, and collaborate on multi-disciplinary projects.

The Collaboration Zone study circle topics:
1. My Arctic Engine - Just like an electric mixer, lawn mower, or formula one racecar, human bodies are machines that need energy to work. Instead of unleaded gas, we use food as fuel. Discussing the basic energy of life, human metabolism, and calories provides a framework for answering more difficult questions about a healthy diet and self-image.

2. On top of the World - Traveling through the arctic on dogsleds is just one of the many things that makes the Arctic Blast team feel naturally high. Alcohol and drugs mimic and trick our brain’s natural systems. Students will compare and contrast modern issues associated with drug use as well as explore healthy alternatives.

3. The Big Freeze - Many plants and animals have to deal with trying to survive the hardships of winter. Discover how winter happens and its consequent effect on all life. Investigate the role winter plays in our modern culture.

4. Who am I - The Arctic Blast team will be traveling through a brand new Canadian territory. Nunavut was created on April 1, 1999 by splitting the Northwest Territories roughly in half. Now separate, the government of Nunavut is able to fully express their unique history and culture. Emphasis is placed on personal identity, the history of nations, and the changing face of government.

5. A World of Resources - Imagine carrying your house, meals for a week, a change of clothes, and anything else you might need to survive everywhere you went. Now throw in twenty furry polar huskies and you are beginning to realize all the resources Team Arctic Blast needs to bring with them on the trail. The world is full of resources that people use everyday. Classes will investigate how we use, conserve, and exploit the Earth’s natural resources.

6. Heroes and Dreams - A quick look into the history of polar exploration reveals a long list of amazing feats and people. One of who, Will Steger, is a close and personal friend of Team Arctic Blast. Do heroes still exist today? Is there something special that makes common people do extraordinary things? Answer these questions and more while living life through some of history's "greats."

7. The Dynamic Earth - Team Arctic Blast will broadcast from the magnetic pole unless it has moved too far away. The Earth is constantly changing, from day to night, building and eroding mountains... even the tilt of the Earth’s axis changes! Examine the processes that make our "home" so dynamic.

8. Trash Talk - The arctic is a very fragile ecosystem and even the smallest piece of garbage left behind could have serious repercussions. Therefore, everything the Arctic Blast team packs in must be packed out. The amount of garbage and waste filling the world’s landfills in alarming. Dissect the delicate issue of your trash and what should be done with it.


Start: Churchill, Manitoba on the southern border of Nunavut, Canada
Finish: Grise Fiord, northernmost village of North America
Distance: 2500 + miles
Duration: February - May, 2001
Temperature: Somewhere between -60 and + 20 F

Environment. The barren treeless terrain of the high arctic, features an abundance of ice-capped mountains and glacier-crowned fiords, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in the western hemisphere. Crossing through mountain passes, the team will most likely find themselves in waist deep snow, whereas on the sea they will be traversing pans of solid and broken ice, open leads, and pressure ridges.

The temperatures will hover between -60 and +20 F (- 50 and - 5 C). On Hudson Bay in February, the team will only have about 5 to 6 hours of daylight. Day length will increase quickly as the team travels north, and by the end in May, they will be enjoying 24 daylight or "midnight sun".

Arctic Treasures. The Arctic Blast 2001 explorers will venture into extremely remote areas, never before brought into classrooms with such vivid detail.

  • Arrival. The Southernmost settlement of Nunavut, this historic village is still identified on most maps by its former name Eskimo Point. An important trading post since the late 1600's, it was early on influenced by western culture and is today particularly proud of its traditional knowledge.

  • Whale Cove [Tikirarjuaq] Untouched, its people are still traditionally connected to Nature - relying on subsistence living, following the rhythms of the seasons.

  • Rankin Inlet [Kangiqliniq] The gateway is the to the area west of Hudson Bay and regional center for the Kivalliq region with deep roots in mining. Sitting on the large inlet, it is known for severe windstorms forcing the team onto the tundra.

  • Baker lake [Qamanittuaq] At the geographical center of Canada, Baker Lake is Canada's only inland Inuit community. It is the place of unique traditional living and historically very different from anywhere else in the Arctic. This is the last resupply point for more than a month! The team will have to follow a sparse, ancient Inuit trail from here.

  • Taloyak [Spence Bay] Taloyak is in the heart of the Northwest passage and the most northern community of the Canadian mainland. It is a small community largely sustained by the abundance of seal in the area, and the always nearby, polar bears. This section contains the longest haul and most mountainous part of the trip and to leads to the dreaded Lancaster Sound.

  • Lancaster Sound As the historic entrance to the Northwest Passage, it's shifting ice and open water is a startling challenge for the expedition. This area contains the high Arctic's greatest concentration of wildlife. Polar bears, walruses, ringed and bearded seals, thousands of beluga whales, hundreds of giant bowheads, and pods of rare narwhals sporting six foot long (2m) ivory tusks make it an arctic marine oasis like no where else on Earth.

  • Beechey Island This historic island is host to the mysterious remains of John Franklin's doomed 1845 expedition. One hundred and twenty nine men died at this spot.

  • Resolute [Qausuittuq] Home to major weather and research stations, it is the jumping off point for most North Pole-bound explorers.

  • The Magnetic North Pole The point from which the Earth's magnetic field radiates. Conventional compasses can no longer function because of the strong magnetic force. From here, the team and their cutting edge communication equipment (Thrane & Thrane) will beam the first ever live transmission. Classrooms around North America will have access to the broadcast.

  • Grise Fiord [Aujuittuuq] Our final destination!!! Grise Fiord, population 104, is the northernmost village of North America. It is nestled in a spectacular area of mountains, glaciers, and fiords and is one of the most scenic villages in all of the arctic.

A Parting Thought -
"...Life on the trail is like an experience like no other. In the cold and snow of the arctic, adventures come in many different shapes and sizes. Crossing an unstable pressure ridge, constant physical strain, enduring extreme weather, even waking up in the morning and harnessing dogs can be a subtle act of faith as well as a monumental feat of courage. Our days draw like an emotional roller coaster ride. The peaks and troughs of an extended expedition, at times, make even the anatomy of our existence questionable; however, those same hardships and highlights tend to put true meaning in perspective. Out here, we are a feather on the wind - nature is the ultimate controller. We make painstaking efforts to begin each day with reverence and respect placed carefully in the sled.

The smell of the cold, the abandon of sled dogs, the unbelievable scale and fragility of the arctic, the elemental simplicities of wilderness travel... these are what we wish for each of you. The Arctic Blast expedition is a tool designed make learning relevant and engaging".

- Team Arctic Blast

Technology Sponsors
Lotus has taken a leadership role in providing solutions for the education market. We are a proud sponsor of the Arctic Blast 2001 and through the innovative solutions of Lotus QuickPlace and Lotus Sametime, classrooms can experience a unique collaborative learning environment. Lotus markets its products in more than 80 countries worldwide and has extensive Business Partner solutions. The company also provides numerous professional consulting, support and education services through the Lotus Professional Services organization. Lotus Development Corporation, founded in 1982, is a subsidiary of IBM Corporation. Learn how other schools are using Lotus solutions at www.lotus.com/school.

IBM continues their commitment to Education and donated IBM ThinkPads to the expedition team to ensure they had reliable hardware equipment in the harsh elements of the arctic.

The IBM Global Education Industry offers a wide range of products, services and solutions to schools and higher education institutions around the world. IBM's portfolio of e-business solutions for schools includes integrated applications that use the Internet to help schools transform the way students learn, teachers teach and administrators manage. For more information, please visit the IBM Global Education Industry online at the following url: www.ibm.com/solutions/education.

Connectria, a Lotus Premier Partner and the 2001 Lotus Rising Star Beacon Award Winner, is a St. Louis-based ASP specializing in the delivery and administration of online e-learning and knowledge-management solutions. Connectria (www.connectria.com), provided all the facilities, systems and resources to develop and maintain this web learning event and to ensure 24x7 access to thousands of teachers and students across North America. Connectria's state-of-the-art Internet Data Centers and Lotus Certified Development and Support personnel provided all the required technology components to make the Arctic Blast experience a reality. Connectria developed this entire site utilizing Lotus technologies. Lotus Domino, Quickplace and Sametime are the key technical components of this interactive, web-enabled education program.

Communication Equipment

The expedition team requires extensive equipment to stay connected throughout the expedition. They carry a very complicated and quite incredible communication 3080A system which works even from the remote Arctic region. This mode of communication is so important to the team that they consider the 3080A system their third team member and have nicknamed it "Mette". Mette is actually a brand new system developed by the Danish company, Thrane & Thrane. It is very durable and can withstand this kind traveling, and functions at speeds up to 64K. At the expedition headquarters in Grand Marais, Minnesota, a report from the trail is downloaded, read, and published to the website allowing classrooms around the world to read and follow the team's progress. The most difficult task is keeping their IBM ThinkPad batteries warm. To ensure the computer works properly, it has its own "sleeping bag" similar to the other team members. It is also put in a large 2 gallon ziplock bag to protect it from condensation. Every morning Paul heats a hot water bottle and slips it inside the bag to keep the computer from freezing. The whole unit travels in a specially built, 'bomb proof' case on the sled.
The ability to send information in this manner, not only in text and still photos, but also sound and video, is one of the primary reasons for undertaking this kind of expedition. It is one of the team's greatest accomplishments.

Communication Technology at a Glance

1. Thrane & Thrane M4 Communicator

The M4 communicator is an Inmast satellite system which allows the team to send and receive emails, digital pictures, and make phone calls. It works by transmitting signals through an antenna to a satellite orbiting near the equator. The antenna is set up to locate the satellite AROW. It locks on to the strongest signal - indicated by a display on the phone. The system connects to the IBM ThinkPad and can then surf the internet at a rate of 64K.

2. Toko Vast DU Sending and Receiving Units
A Panasonic ToughBook laptop computer has proprietary software that encodes digital video, compresses it, and then transmits the images via the M4 system. The signal is downloaded by the receiving unit which resides in St. Louis at Connectria. The file is decoded and is converted into video.

3. IBM ThinkPad T20
The ThinkPads are hooked up to the M4 Communicator and enables the team to email text and send digital still pictures.

4. Lotus QuickPlace and Lotus Sametime
During the expedition, students will be engaged in Lotus Sametime Moderated Chats, designed by Lotus Professional Services, allowing them to have real-time dialogue with the explorers regarding their Arctic experiences. Additionally, 'study circles' using Lotus QuickPlace will create an interactive collaborative environment for students and teachers to communicate and exchange ideas on “hands-on” multi-disciplinary projects.

5. Olympus 490 Digital Camera
This camera is used to take still photos. It stores the images as smart media cards which can then be transferred to the IBM ThinkPad.

6. Canon GL1 Video Camera
This camera captures digital video images which can be sent via the Toko Vast system.

7. 40 watt Solar Panel
Used to charge Gell Cell batteries.

8. Honda E1000 Generator
The generator is used to power all electrical devices.

9. DC to DC Connectors
The connectors are needed to run electrical equipment.

Sponsored by

Hosted by

Lotus An IBM Company

NOMADS Adventure & Education

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Grand Marais, MN 55604 USA

Toll free 1 888 753 5629
P: + 218 387 1411
F: + 218 387 1412

Email: info@PolarHusky.com
Photos copyright by
Gordon Wiltsie, Paul Pregont, Henrik Larsen


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