Subglacial Lake Ellsworth inspires students in USA
Inspiring the next generation
The Lake Ellsworth teams want to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.
This section of the web site links to award-winning learning resources for teachers
and fun stuff to capture your imagination.
Bob Fontaine teaches art at The Village School, a Montessori school in Waldwick,
New Jersey, USA. He develops art projects that are connected with other subject
areas, including geography and science. He discovered the Ellsworth project on the
web and shared his fascination with his first second, and third grade students. They
were studying Antarctica in their regular class and Bob created an art/science/fantasy
project for them to develop.
Each of forty-seven students created a portion of a large
wall chart, nine feet wide by seven feet high. After viewing slides of Antarctic
ice walls and ice crystals, they drew forty-two panels of ice, each 12x18 inches. Eighth
grade students were given a math word problem to determine the proportional depth
of ice to the depth of Lake Ellsworth: two miles of ice to 300 feet of water became
a depth of 84 inches of ice to 2.4 inches of water in our chart. The first, second,
and third graders drew over 200 imaginary microbes that they thought could be found
when samples are taken from Lake Ellsworth. Their microbe drawings are just above
the lake at the bottom of the chart. They also drew a long length of drill pipe,
stopping short of the lake because it has not yet been reached, and a drill station
at the top of the chart. The students stood on a ladder to assemble the entire chart
on the wall.
The children became very involved with the chart and began to understand the great
depth of ice in Antarctica. They were intrigued that even scientists did not know
exactly what they might find in the lake or sediment. It gave them the opportunity
to think about what it might be like to explore the unknown. It also gave them a
chance to stretch their imaginations as they speculated about the nature of microbes
never before seen.
Bob sent us photographs of their chart, including close-ups of some of their ice
drawings and microbes. We put them on the front cover of the Draft Comprehensive
Environmental Evaluation Report. Enjoy these and do let us know if the science of
subglacial lakes inspires you.