Project background

Ice e-mystery began as a project idea between the Centre for Learning and Discovery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Antarctic Research sector in Tasmania, Australia. It extended some of the methodologies of a smaller project run by the University of Queensland and the James Cook University around the marine environment in which a single class wrote a story titled the Hidden Secrets of Skull Island, first published in 2004.

Funding was secured in 2007/8 from the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training through the Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics Project as a part of the Boosting Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics Teaching (BISTMT) Programme.

Partnerships were forged with the University of Alaska and the Alaskan school sector, who in turn secured additional funding for pedagogic research into the project methodologies from the National Science Foundation, USA, as well funds to bring teachers together for training from the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Seasons and Biomes project.

Workshops were conducted for teachers in both Alaska and Tasmania in polar science, literacy and art, and an evaluative workshop for all participating teachers in Tasmania conducted at the conclusion of the project in June 2009.

The ICE E-MYSTERY: Global student Polar e-books project ran through 2008/9 and involved over 400 students in 24 classes from these two countries. The Project explored polar science through an innovative approach to science, art and literacy education. Students from throughout Australia and North America worked together (paired classes across the hemispheres) to write and illustrate on-line e-books in a predominately mystery genre focused around the themes of polar science. Students were guided by Teacher Associates trained in Antarctic science, classroom teachers trained in the project methodology and polar sciences and resources from national research organisations such as the Australian Antarctic Division, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Tasmanian and Museum and Art Gallery and Antarctic related Cooperative Research Centres. Classroom activities were augmented by visits to museums, science organisations and contact with researchers in Antarctica.

A series of e-books resulted from the collaborative writing project between Australian and Alaskan school classes based around polar science.

A key outcome of the project was the development of an international learning community of school students, teachers, postgraduate students and scientists.

Project Team

Andy Baird               Project Coordinator

Sandra Zicus           Deputy Coordinator

Elena B. Sparrow    Alaskan Convener

Martha Kopplin       Deputy Alaskan Convener

Alan Miller             Project liaison Alaska

Andy G. Page         Project Evaluator/ educational researcher

Joel Pedro              Post Graduate Teacher Associate

Jacqui Foster          Post Graduate Teacher Associate

Alex Fraser             Post Graduate Teacher Associate

Coral Tulloch          e-book editor

Alison Lester          e-book editor

Jess Atkinson         Graphic Designer

Brian Martin            Web Designer