Last month I had the chance to speak to the fifth grade class at Meadowlark elementary school in Andover, Kansas, after some of the teachers there got in touch with me. They were keen to know about life down here, about climate change and about how it affects things in Antarctica. This is not something I’ve not done much of and I was both thrilled and a little bit nervous about talking to a big group of people and telling them about what I’ve been up to.
Before our talk they sent through some information about Kansas, with some history, things to do and places to visit such as Dodge City and the Space Museum – somewhere I’d like to visit if I got the chance. They also sent some really cool facts – such as the fact that Amelia Earhart was from there, Kansas is right in the centre of the U.S. and more bizarre things such as the fact that it was one illegal in Kansas to eat ice cream on cherry pie!
I managed to send some pictures through and arranged a time to call. Richard the Halley metbabe and resident climate expert joined me to provide some scientific knowledge to go along my enthusiastic but slightly less knowledgeable rambling.
So, with a slideshow of pictures and an audience to speak to we both sat huddled up to the telephone, excited but hoping that things would go smoothly – we both have strange accents (though mines cooler than Richards apparently!)and we are on a satellite uplink thousands of miles away that can sometimes have quite big delays, so we hoped we would come across nice and clearly.
We showed them some pictures of our crazy looking house, talked about the history of Halley and told them a little about what we get up to both at work and when we get chanced to head out into the great white beyond. And of course we showed them some cute penguin pictures!
We spoke a little bit about why it’s so cold here and why everything here is dominated by ice.
The questions we got from the kids were great. Some really intelligent ones and some that made Richard think quite hard for an answer! They also laughed at some of my jokes, which was nice.
Richard and I had a great time and before we knew it well over an hour had passed and we had to get off the phone and back to work!
To say it was cool chatting away was an understatement. It was great being able to share what we’re up to.
To Mrs Moss, Ms. Hoopes, Mrs Loy and Mrs Smokorwski thank you for getting in touch and then listening to the two of us waffle on and show off a bit!
And to the kids in the fifth grade we spoke to – thank you so much for the great questions and for making it such fun. It was a real highlight speaking to you guys. Hopefully in a few years one of you might be down here in this insanely beautiful place chatting with another group of kids far way across the planet!