Miss Nicola Wilmot is Geography teacher at Sacred Heart College, who did her postgraduate studies through the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) and visited the South African National Antarctic Expedition station (SANAE IV) during the 2016/2017 summer take-over. She has a passion for the Antarctic Continent and likes to inspire the youth at her school with her Antarctic knowledge.
At Sacred Heart College, the Grade 8s and 9s have a subject called Integrated Studies where they are able to choose from a list of electives that are interesting and not part of their day to day curriculum. One of these electives for Term 3 is called Become an Antarctic Scientist and is hosted by Miss Wilmot. In this elective she was able to share her knowledge about and passion for Antarctica and inspire the students to come up with some research proposals as if the students were going to go there themselves.
During this elective they learnt about why it is important that we do research in Antarctica and why it is critical in terms of climate change. They got to research and find out more information on the area as well as give a reason as to why they would want to conduct research in Antarctica. The students then had to come up with a research idea and how it could contribute to Science and maybe climate change research. Guidance was given as to what they could do in the areas of interest they had and thus they had to look up methods and equipment that would be needed.
Miss Wilmot teamed up with Mr Colesky and incorporated finance into the project. The students learnt about how much it would cost to travel to Antarctica. They also had to cost the basic clothes and equipment into their budget. The total of budget shocked them entirely as they could not believe it costs large amounts of money to go on research trip to Antarctica. They learnt how to apply for a loan and calculate the interest. They also had to compile a formal letter to an organisation or company of their choice to ask for funding for their trip. Lastly they had to come up with a brief outline of their methods as well as a conclusion.
Feedback was given throughout the term to help the students enhance their reports and thus the results where outstanding. They were given free rein in terms of how they could produce their final report. Their final reports came in many forms including actual printed reports, a dice, a pamphlet and more!
15 November 2019 was the Integrated Studies Collaboration evening where the final products of the subject are displayed for visitors and parents. The learners stood by their projects as well as gave a speech that summarised what their projects were about.
ALSA kindly donated the prizes for the top two students as well as books for the library so that this project can expand and continue for years to come.
Body Text by: Nicola Wilmot, HOD and Geography Teacher, Sacred Heart College, Johannesburg
Published by: Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 19 November 2019.