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Lesson 4: Dogs in Antarctica Key Stage 2: English, Computing

Investigating How dogs pulled the polar sledges

What is the best way to travel around the continent of Antarctica?

In the last 150 years transport for polar expeditions has undergone many changes. The major change has been from the use of traditional sailing ships and sledges to the widespread development of motorised transport for use in polar exploration. Motorised transport was in use from the early 1900s, but it was many years before the problems with these early vehicles could be corrected to form the foundation for modern polar vehicles.

The introduction of air transport began in the 1930s. This allowed aerial photography at the poles, allowing us to see the continent from a whole new view. Flights over the polar regions also allowed remote exploration and surveying, making it possible to survey areas which would have been difficult to cover on foot. Aircraft have also been used to provide support to ground teams.

Today we see a combination of mechanised and more traditional transport methods. They both have their strengths and weaknesses and so their use together is ideal.

Captain Scott favoured using specially bred and trained dogs to pull sledges which the explorers rode on.

Polar explorers often became very fond of the dogs but they had to be very strict with them as it was vital that the dogs worked hard and pulled the sledges and all the equipment.

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Purpose of study:

English - Write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others.

Computing - Ensures that pupils become digitally literate - able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology.

National Curriculum Aims / Attainment Targets Activity focus


  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Lower KS2 - be able to write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation. Pupils should be beginning to understand how writing can be different from speech.
  • Upper KS2 - be able to write down their ideas quickly. Their grammar and punctuation should be broadly accurate. They should continue to emphasise pupils' enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their reading and writing.
  • Investigate the use of dogs in Antarctica.
  • Write a journal extract as one of the explorers driving a dog team.


  • Are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.
  • KS2 - select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information.