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How do ships sail through the ice to deliver resources to Antarctica?

This extended resource is designed for Year 4 Physics and STEM students who are learning about push and pull forces. It covers real-life forces and their effects and also how we can apply this understanding to deliver science across the world.

The previous Australian Antarctic icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, breaking through pack ice. Credit: Wendy Pyper 2012. Image courtesy of the Australian Antarctic Program.

In this learning sequence, students will investigate forces described as pushes and pulls. They will learn how a force changes the shape, speed and direction of an object. Students will discuss, explore and investigate breaking, bending and how different materials, including ice, act when forces are applied. Finally, they will explore how icebreakers work by applying their understanding of forces on materials to the physics of icebreakers.

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This resource is supported by the Australian Antarctic Division.

The Royal Institution of Australia is the official education partner of the Australian Antarctic Division. You can explore all of our Antarctic science resources here.

Year: 4


Physical Sciences: Forces

Additional: Technology, Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication.

Concepts (South Australia):

Physical Sciences: Forces and Motion