International Polar Year

Arctic Education Program Overview

Our journey to the Arctic brings together a dynamic international team of scientists, educators, artists, writers, leaders and innovators. The dynamics, positive energy and synergies of such a group together on this Arctic expedition are sure to create an incredible environment for learning and discovery.

Our education program consists of three key components:


A pre-expedition preparatory program designed to help get students into an Arctic mindset is available on the Students on Ice website at under the Education Program's Arctic section. This program is web-accessible and self-directed in nature.

Prior to the expedition, students are also encouraged to do as much reading and research as possible. This site has some excellent resources to help get students started, as well as a suggested reading list. Be sure to check out many of the web-links listed on this site and the stories, announcements and links posted to SOI's Blog. Begin familiarizing yourself with the many issues facing the Arctic. Some specific questions to consider include:

  • Examine the impacts of climate change on the human communities and natural ecosystems of the Arctic.
  • What is being done by the eight circumpolar nations in regards to fostering a greater global awareness of the impacts of climate change on the North?
  • How are your actions and choices at home influencing the environmental changes being observed in the Arctic?
  • What are the implications of a warming Arctic on national sovereignty for Canada? - The Circumpolar North? The World?

Start preparing a list of questions of your own in your expedition journal.

Students on Ice encourages student participants to answer the following questions and complete the following task BEFORE their arrival to Ottawa!:


1) What do I think is the significance of this expedition experience? (How do I make meaning of it? How might it inform my life path?)

2) What am I especially interested in learning about?

3) How will I go about sharing what I've learned when I return home?


1) Why does the Arctic matter?

2) What does the Arctic mean to me? (On a broader level: What does the "natural world" or "nature" mean to me? Describe your relationship with the natural world [if you have one] at this stage in your life.)

3) How is the Arctic relevant to where I live?


In the personal journal that we have asked you to bring, describe an example in your home community of a recent initiative, project, policy, and/or action that has led to positive social and environmental change. Be prepared to share your example with other participants upon arriving to Ottawa.


During the expedition there will be many different activities each day including:

  • Visits to various Arctic communities and local interaction
  • Presentations
  • Workshops and Hands-on activities
  • Small group discussions
  • Landings, shore hikes and Zodiac cruises
  • Participation in on-going scientific research with education team members
  • Whale, Polar Bear, Seabird, Seal and Iceberg spotting

The Students on Ice Education Team will be eager to interact with, interpret, excite and mentor students throughout each day. Take advantage! A one on one conversation at meals can be equally or more informative than attending a presentation.


A forum will conclude the expedition's education program. This will be an opportunity for us to address many of the important issues we have learned about, facing the Arctic and the planet. It will be an opportunity to generate ideas, solutions and recommendations for action and change. We will then produce a Youth Impressions document as an outcome of our expedition together.