30 June, 2006

A new online interactive teaching tool is launched this week. For the first time teachers of Key Stages 3 & 4 Geography have access to a resource that covers the science and geopolitics of the world’s last great wilderness.

Discovering Antarctica has been developed jointly by the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG), British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Polar Regions Unit.

The website, www.discoveringantarctica.org.uk, is aimed at geography teachers and students and features a wide range of themes to utilize and investigate both in classroom learning and in independent coursework.

Topics including climate and environmental change, the future of the continent, international politics, current scientific research and tourism each come with downloadable factsheets, multimedia interactives, images to challenge and inspire.

A dedicated ‘Teachers Area’, providing notes, relevant curriculum links and top tips for using website activities on an interactive whiteboard in the classroom feature in Discovering Antarctica.

Discovering Antarctica was developed to enthuse young people in Antarctic research and to give teachers access to an authoritative resource from the UK’s national Antarctic operator.  It was funded by FCO’s Polar Regions Unit and launches as the UK hosts the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Edinburgh, in June 2006.  It is a key UK contribution to education during the forthcoming International Polar Year 2007-09 – a major international scientific drive to understand the role the Polar Regions play in the Earth system.

Posters to promote the new website will be sent to all UK secondary schools this month.

For the most up-to-date, in-depth teaching and learning resources on Antarctica visit  www.discoveringantartica.org.uk

For more information, contact:

Jamie Oliver, British Antarctic Survey education officer: Tel 01223 221413; email jaol@bas.ac.uk

British Antarctic Survey Press Office: Linda Capper – tel: (01223) 221448, mob: 07714 233744, email:

Notes for editors:

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)The learned society and professional body for geography and geographers. Established in 1830 to promote ‘the advancement of geographical science’, today we are a dynamic world centre for geographical learning – supporting research, education, expeditions and fieldwork, as well as promoting public engagement and informed enjoyment of our world. www.rgs.org

British Antarctic Survey is a world leader in research into global issues in an Antarctic context. It is the UK’s national operator and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council.  It has an annual budget of around £40 million, runs nine research programmes and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica. More information about the work of the Survey can be found on our website:  www.antarctica.ac.uk

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Polar Regions Unit takes a leading role in international Antarctic affairs.  It is responsible for the administration of the Antarctic Treaty.