The Heroic Age Building Knowledge about the History of Antarctic Exploration 4-5 Grade Band Text Set Line of Inquiry

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The Heroic Age

Building Knowledge about the History of Antarctic Exploration

4-5 Grade Band Text Set

Line of Inquiry: In this text set, students in grades 4-5 will build knowledge about the history of the Antarctic exploration through informational and literary texts. They will discover the spirit of trying new things and the tenacity it takes to overcome obstacles.
Although this text set has an over-arching theme of bravery and perseverance, it also focuses on building knowledge about Antarctic exploration. The anchor text was chosen not only for its riveting story that shows a person’s character, but also because this text is so versatile nearly every informational standard can be addressed using this text; making this non-fiction text worthy of returning to time and time again. Although the anchor text can be used for many standards, CCSS RI.4.7 is most applicable since the anchor text has unique non-fiction text features, incredible visual elements, and even contains interactive web pages listed in the back of the text. Mawson’s story was also chosen as the anchor text because his exploration was inspired not for glory or fame like many other explorers, but in the name of science. His hope to give the world information and understanding of this treacherous and uncharted land shows the selflessness in his character as well as his bravery and perseverance.
We recommend careful consideration of the sequencing and pairing of these texts based on your knowledge of your students so that they are exposed to the way that different text types contribute to knowledge-building.

Anchor Text

N/A After the last dog died: the true-life, hair-raising adventure of Douglas Mawson and his 1911-1914 Antarctic Expedition

By: Carmen Bredeson

Text Type: Informational

Lexile: N/A

Reading Level: 7.2

Book Level 6.7

Interest Level: 5-8
“This liberally illustrated survival tale makes reading as compelling as any of the recent accounts of Ernest Shackleton's contemporaneous ventures. Unlike Shackleton, Australian geologist Mawson mounted his ill-starred expedition for (mostly) scientific purposes. Having set up base camp at Cape Denison, soon discovered to be "the windiest place in the world," Mawson departed with a small party on sledges in November 1912. He returned alone and on foot the following February, having lost nearly all supplies, and both human companions (one, Bredeson hints, to vitamin-A poisoning from a forced diet of sled-dog livers), but surviving a 320-mile trek back. Supplemented by expedition photos of dim, windswept landscapes, and laced with horrifying details-at one point Mawson takes off his socks, and his soles peel off with them-this lesser-known, tragic episode from the golden age of Antarctic exploration won't fail to give readers both chills and thrills.” (Kirkus reviews)

Available used from Amazon for $4.00.

840L Sophie Scott Goes South

By: Alison Lester

Text Type: Historical Fiction

Borden, Louise, and Robert Andrew Parker. Sleds on Boston Common: A Story from the Heroic Age. New York: Margaret K. McElderry, 2000. Print.
Nine-year-old Sophie is going on a month-long voyage to Antarctica, with her dad, the captain of an icebreaker. Sailing the frozen seas round-trip from Australia to Mawson Station in the South Pole, Sophie recounts the adventure of a lifetime in her own words, illustrations, and color photographs. She’ll show us icebergs, penguins, seals, and whales! It’s a dangerous journey, but Sophie is well prepared for the thrills and chills that await her at the bottom of the world.

This friendly, informative, and beautifully presented picture book is based on the author’s own experiences and shows the wonder of Antarctica through a child’s eyes.

Available from Amazon in hardcover for $14.49.

770L Who Was Ernest Shackleton?

By: James Buckley Jr.

Text Type: Historical Fiction

Buckley, J. Who was Ernest Shackleton? New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2013. Print.
As a boy he preferred reading sea stories to doing homework and, at age 16, became an apprentice seaman. Subsequently, Ernest Shackleton’s incredible journeys to the South Pole in the early 1900s made him one of the most famous explorers of modern times.  His courage in the face of dangerous conditions and unforeseeable tragedies reveal the great leader that he was. His historic 1914 journey aboard the Endurance has all the drama of an action movie (Lexile Find-a-Book).
Available from Amazon in paperback for $4.49.
790L Trapped By the Ice: Shackleton’s Amazing Antarctic Adventure

By: Michael McCurdy

Text Type: Nonfiction

McCurdy, Michael. Trapped By the Ice. Walker Children’s., May 2002. Reprint

Describes the events of the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition when, after being trapped in a frozen sea for nine months, the expedition ship, the Endurance, was finally crushed and Shackleton and his men made the very long and perilous journey across ice and stormy seas to reach inhabited land.

Available from Amazon in paperback for $8.99.

790L Spirit of Endurance: The True Story of the Shackleton Expedition to the Antarctic

By: Jennifer Armstrong

Text Type: Nonfiction

Armstrong, Jennifer. Spirit of Endurance. New York: Crown Publishers, 2000. Print.
In August 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set out from England in an attempt to lead the first expedition across the Antarctic continent. What followed was one of the most extraordinary survival stories in history: a ship trapped and then wrecked by ice; an expedition marooned, first on the constantly shifting Antarctic pack, then on a remote, uninhabited island; a daring open boat journey across the world's most violent ocean; a trek over unmapped mountains; and finally an amazing rescue. Jennifer Armstrong's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World received widespread praise and won the OrbisPictus Award. Now she tells the Endurance story for a younger audience, in an oversize format with color paintings re-creating the detail and drama of the expedition's ordeal (Lexile Find-a-Book).
Available used from Amazon for $4.00.
Please Note: The following two books have quantitative measures that rest above the grade band. It is recommended to take only portions of these texts to present to students.
1050L Emperors of the Ice: A true story of disaster and survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13

By: Richard Farr

Text Type: Historical Fiction

Farr, Richard. Emperors of the ice: A true story of disaster and survival in the Antarctic, 1910-13. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Print.

Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard has always dreamt of becoming an explorer. So in the spring of 1910, when Captain Robert Falcon Scott offers young "Cherry" the position of Assistant Zoologist aboard the Terra Nova, Cherry considers himself the luckiest man alive. Cherry's luck, however, will soon change. Far off in the icy unknown of Antarctica, where temperatures plummet below 77F, exploration is synonymous with a struggle for life. Frostbite, scurvy, hidden ice chasms, and packs of hungry killer whales are very real dangers. But even these perils don't prepare Cherry for the expedition he and two other crew members embark upon to collect the eggs of Emperor penguins. Along the way, he will face the elements head-on, risking life and limb in the name of science. Rife with captivating details of survival in an icy wilderness, and illustrated with dozens of photographs from the actual journey, this reimagining of the famous 1910 expedition to the South Pole, told in Cherry's voice, is an unforgettable tale of courage and camaraderie (Lexile Find-a-Book).
Available from Amazon in hardcover for $14.53.
1090L Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance

By: Jennifer Armstrong

Text Type: Nonfiction

Armstrong, Jennifer. Shipwreck at the bottom of the world: The Extraordinary true story of Shackleton the Endurance. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1998. Print.
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the Worldvividly recreates one of the most extraordinary adventure stories in history. In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and 27 men sailed from England in an attempt to become the first team of explorers to cross the Antarctic continent from one side to the other. Five months later and still 100 miles from land, their ship, Endurance, became trapped. The expedition survived an Antarctic winter in the icebound ship, then, after Endurance sank, five months camped on the ice followed by a perilous boat journey through storms and icebergs to remote and unvisited Elephant Island, 600 miles from Cape Horn. From there, their only hope was for someone to fetch help. In a dramatic climax to this amazing survival story, Shackleton and five others navigated 800 miles of the treacherous open ocean in a 20-foot boat and then hiked across the unmapped, glacier-strewn interior of South Georgia Island to a whaling station. In August 1916, 19 months after Endurance first became icebound, Shackleton led a rescue party back to Elephant Island for his men. Jennifer Armstrong narrates these almost unbelievable events with vigor, an eye for detail, and an appreciation of the marvelous leadership of Ernest Shackleton, who brought home every one of his men alive. With them survived a remarkable archive of photographs of the expedition, more than forty of which are reproduced here (Lexile Find-a-Book).
Available from Amazon in paperback for $8.32.
1180L Electrifying Photos of the Early Age of Antarctic Exploration Found

By: Caroline Alexander

Text Type: Informational

Alexander, Caroline. “Electryifying Photos of the Early Age of Antarctic Exploration Found.” National Geographic. 31 Dec. 2013. Web.
“A surprising discovery of valuable photographs illuminates Antarctic exploration from a century ago. Students will see photos and read an article about the Shackleton expedition. There is a link in the article to another article that argues why explorers 100 years ago were tougher than today’s explorers. This is a good example for students of how to write an argument. Click on other links in the article to see more photos.”
N/A Endurance Image Gallery

By: Frank Hurley

Text Type: Photographs

Hurley, Frank. Discover Collections. State Library: New South Wales, n.d. Web. .

“Frank Hurley's striking images of Shackleton's ill-fated Endurance and expedition are some of the most famous images of Antarctic exploration. As the official photographer on board, he photographed under the harshest of conditions. He salvaged glass plates and film from the sinking Endurance, however lost about 400 glass negatives on the ice. The remainder of their odyssey was documented with only a handheld Vest Pocket camera and three rolls of film. His images are an enduring record of this most remarkable expedition of endurance and survival.”
Teacher Resource
N/A Into The Unknown

By: David Roberts

Text Type: Informational

Roberts, David. “Into the Unknown.” National Geographic Jan. 2013. Web.

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