Ice Bears Trip: Day 1

My next few posts will be entries from my trip log.  On flipping through my journal, I noticed that all my entries started with some sort of all-caps exclamation.  “OH MY GOODNESS” or “UNBELIEVABLE” or “WOW”.  It was that kind of trip.

Here’s day 1, Saturday 6/21:

OH MY GOODNESS – hi from Oslo!

So far this trip has been amazing and we haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.

On the plane from Newark to Oslo I kept watching the travel progress on my seatback screen, being so blown away that it was ME heading toward Scandanavia.  I sat next to the the drummer from the band Phosphorescent, who was headed off to a European tour.  Super nice guy – I need to check out his music.

As we flew into Oslo, the countryside reminded me of northern New England – so GREEN in summer, with lots of trees and small farms.  I had prepped myself for letting go of the color green for a while while visiting Svalbard, but I forgot about Oslo.  And actually, I was wrong about Svalbard, too.

A first look at Norway

While in Oslo, we had a short bus tour of the city and visited the Fram Museum, dedicated to Norwegian polar exploration and home of the amazing ship Fram, used on three polar expeditions to both ends of the earth.  We also wandered through the Vigeland Park, home to more than 200 stone and bronze statues created by artist Gustav Vigeland.   The statues reflect the many ages and stages, moods and motions of human life.


Throughout our trip, I had the privilege of hanging out with two other Grosvenor Teacher Fellows: Holly Doe and Demetria Scott.  As we traveled, we talked about how we could relate our experience to our students back home.  While in Oslo, we brainstormed about the following classroom ideas:

  • Designing a boat that won’t be crushed by ice, based on the Fram.

             Could this be a 3D printer project?

             How much guidance/background should be given?

             What materials should be made available?


  • Research and map the routes of early polar exploration.

             How did the early explorers map and chart?  How is it different today?

             Make a to-scale map of each expedition

             What what the goal of each trip, and why?

             What challenges were faced?  Personal stories?

             Pre-project unit on maps, location, and navigation


  • Arctic Artists project – in collaboration with Art department?

             Study the work of an artist, and construct a similar project

             Might be a great independent research project


  • Government, economics, and daily life

                  A comparative study of different Arctic countries and communities


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