NOVA

Shackleton's Journey of Endurance

Student Handout

Weighty Decisions

In this activity, you are Sir Ernest Shackleton and your ship, the Endurance, has been frozen in the pack ice of Antarctica's Weddell Sea for nine months. It's clear that soon the Endurance will sink due to the pressure of the ice surrounding it. An enormous challenge is before you. What will you take with you and what will you leave behind?

Procedure

  1. Below is a list of items that you can salvage from the Endurance before she sinks. You cannot possibly move everything across the ice, so you must choose wisely those things that are crucial. Twenty-seven men and 70 dogs are on your expedition.

  2. As you make your choices, keep in mind that you don't know how long you will be stranded.

  3. Check each item as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd priority in the boxes beside each. First priority items must be included for survival. Second and third priority items may be left behind because their function can be achieved through other means or because they take space away from more important items.


Endurance Inventory

1

2

3

Item

1

2

3

Item

 

 

 

Artist's oil paints

 

 

 

Radio

 

 

 

Books

 

 

 

Reindeer skin sleeping bag

 

 

 

Camera, film

 

 

 

Rifles, cartridges

 

 

 

Canned meat

 

 

 

Rope

 

 

 

Compass

 

 

 

Sail canvas

 

 

 

Cooking pots

 

 

 

Sextant

 

 

 

Cotton shirts

 

 

 

Ship's bell

 

 

 

Extra kerosene

 

 

 

Signal mirror

 

 

 

Extra lamp wicks

 

 

 

Sledges and dogs

 

 

 

Flare pistol

 

 

 

Soccer ball

 

 

 

Fresh water in canisters

 

 

 

Star charts

 

 

 

Journals and pencils

 

 

 

Stove

 

 

 

Knives

 

 

 

Tents

 

 

 

Matches

 

 

 

Tools

 

 

 

Medical supplies

 

 

 

Wooden crates

 

 

 

Pistols, cartridges

 

 

 

Woolen long underwear

 

 

 

Playing cards

 

 

 

 

Group Questions
Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

  1. What were the principles and guiding questions that drove your group's decisions?

  2. Which items were most difficult to agree on?

  3. How did your group resolve any differences of opinion?



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