• iceberg
  • boy with flowers
  • checking water quality
  • planet eclipse
  • rangitoto trees
  • kids with test tubes
  • kids with earth
  • snowy mountains
  • Rainbow Clouds

    Refraction and diffraction of light through ice crystals in the clouds

  • Philippa On The Ice

    Philippa On The Ice Philippa Werry at an Antarctic research camp 2016

New Zealand Science Teacher

Science Education & Society

IceFest is on its way

Get your students learning about Antarctica this spring.

NZ IceFest celebrates Antarctica in all its glory. Held every second year in Christchurch, the event aims to celebrate New Zealand’s leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

NZ IceFest is organised by the Christchurch City Council, and this year will run from September 26 to October 12.

You and your students are invited to take part in what promises to be a creative and educational set of events. The NZ IceFest Schools and Libraries Education Programme is designed for curriculum levels 3-5 and spans science, arts, technology, and the social sciences.

This programme can be done in terms two and three, in order to lead up to the actual festival held during the October school holidays. Included are three fun, curriculum-linked projects, each of which leads into a competition with fantastic prizes, such as Go Pro Hero Cams for your classroom.

The projects are as follows:

  • HIT Lab Gizmo Stations: 3D Station Competition
  • Letter to the Future: Climate Change Competition
  • Short Video Challenge: Explorers and Detectives Competition

IceFest coordinator Nita Smith stresses the importance of Antarctic education for New Zealand students. “What happens in Antarctica affects everyone in the world, but here in New Zealand, we’re on Antarctica’s doorstep. It’s vital young New Zealanders understand the environmental, economic, and social issues that surround the region."

The festival sets out to improve understanding about:

  • How Antarctica influences the world’s oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere, and
  • The critical role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to New Zealand’s social and economic wellbeing and environmental stewardship.

Nita reminds us that Antarctica provides us with rich learning opportunities in science.

“It’s a great place to inspire students in science,” she says. “Under the Antarctic Treaty, the continent is devoted to peace and science. Of course, there is a strong emphasis on climate change because this is a global issue especially relevant to the South Pole.”

As coordinator for the event, Nita says she is most looking forward to being on the judging panel of all the education programme competitions.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing first hand the creativity of the student entries,” she says.

Another highlight for Nita will be the Antarctic Time Travel Exhibition, which will take visitors on an interactive journey from 50 million years in the past, to generations into the future. This exhibition is designed to explore climate change in Antarctica and the rest of the world.

View a gallery of beautiful Antarctic images, including some from last year’s IceFest here.

The full programme can be accessed here.

A special IceFest poster can be downloaded here (feel free to print this for your classroom).

Also note: the first 100 schools to register will receive, via post, a poster and 30 bookmarks for the classroom.

Please fill in and return the application form (available here) to nita.smith@ccc.govt.nz, before 5th May (start of Term 2).

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