Dame Ellen MacArthur, the crew of HMS Endurance and the University of Portsmouth are breathing new life into science lessons for seven-11 year olds.
The round-the-world sailor and the Royal Navy have joined forces with the university to create an exciting and new educational partnership launched in time to support National Science and Engineering Week in March.
Pupils will find their lessons being brought to life by a series of easy to use downloadable worksheets that will allow them to build their own weather stations, create erupting volcanoes and build and fly model albatrosses.
Experienced in the oceanography, meteorology and climatology of Antarctica, the Royal Navy's Ice Patrol Ship, HMS Endurance will be the focus of a series of National Curriculum-supporting Key Stage 2 worksheets in partnership with the University of Portsmouth and supported by round-the-world yachtswoman, Dame Ellen MacArthur.
The University of Portsmouth is involved in the partnership through its UP for It Juniors scheme which is aimed at inspiring and engaging children aged from seven to 11. The scheme focuses on raising attainment and aspirations through a wide range of activities including visits to the university and the provision of exciting educational resources.
The university's curriculum development co-ordinator Peter Wright said: 'These resources are all about doing science. Children get to see science in action in one of the most extreme environments on our planet and then they get to carry out their own experiments. So, whether it's making and using a wind vane or experimenting with their own volcano, they get to see science in context.
'The resources also contain an important environmental message, showing children how research in Antarctica tells us about climate change. There's also a focus on the plight of the albatross and how human activities are affecting the numbers of these majestic birds.'
As part of her role as an Honorary Royal Naval Reservist, Dame Ellen has joined the project because she is passionately committed to raising awareness of the plight of the albatross in Antarctica.
Dame Ellen said: 'I was lucky enough to spend time in Antarctica in 2005/6. It is a wonderful, wild unique place, so full of nature and history. Spending time on Albatross Island was magical, and I felt hugely privileged to spend some time with these magnificent birds. I could not believe how beautiful they are. I really had the impression that we were in their world.
'HMS Endurance gave me the chance to fly in one of their helicopters and this gave the island a whole new perspective for me, not only seeing the huge glaciers flowing across the island towards the sea, but to begin to comprehend the vastness of this awesome place.
'It really made me aware that we need to work hard to save these graceful and incredible birds by raising awareness of the dangers of long line fishing. The birds get caught on huge lines when trying to take bait from hooks resulting in 10,000 deaths annually. The current trend will lead to extinction so we need to give these birds the best chance we can.'
Speaking from onboard HMS Endurance, Captain Bob Tarrant, said: 'We are passionate about the role we play for the Royal Navy, which is unique amongst the world's navies, and the contribution that HMS Endurance makes to global scientific output and research.
'We are looking forward to supporting National Science and Engineering Week with the University of Portsmouth and Dame Ellen MacArthur as our combined knowledge will really bring Antarctica to life, helping children to understand some of the issues this amazing continent currently faces.'