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Lesson 1: Packing for an expedition Key Stage 1 & 2: English

Understanding the importance of the Nansen cooker in polar expeditions then and now

Cooking in polar climates.

The "primus" camping stove was used by the Terra Nova and later expeditions. Fuelled by kerosene, its design provided heat to simultaneously heat food and melt snow for drinking water.

The primus was 6 times more fuel efficient than previous models of stove reducing the amounts of fuel that needed to be carried. Modern camping stoves have changed little since.

The Nansen cooker was used alongside the primus camping stove because it was an efficient way of cooking food and melting snow for water at the same time and it also kept the tent warm as it was heating up the meal.

The Nansen cooker's multi-use nature meant that it was ideal for use on polar expeditions. It was compact and was made of lightweight aluminum which allowed it to be easily packed and carried on a sledge. It allowed people to travel much further distances than before in the Antarctic.

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Purpose of study:

Geography - Inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes.

National Curriculum Aims / Attainment Targets Activity focus


  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places.
  • Interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

KS1 –Place knowledge

  • Understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country.
  • Using online map to investigate the hut.
  • Sort objects seen in the hut.

KS2 - Locational knowledge

  • Locate the world's countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities.
  • Identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night).

Human and physical geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of: physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle.

Geographical skills and fieldwork - Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied.

  • Using online map to investigate the hut.
  • Sort objects seen in the hut.