The Arctic Tundra: Into the Wild

“I now walk into the wild.” Chris McCandless (Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild)


“The arctic fever has no effect on the body but lives only in the mind, filling its victim with a consuming urge to wander again, and forever, through those mighty spaces where the caribou herds flow like living rivers over the roll of the tundra.” Farley Mowat, People of the Deer,

Scoresby, Greenland

Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Caribou on the shores of Schmok Lake, Manitoba

The Tundra in Winter. Healy, Alaska

Tundra in the High Sierra

Task 1:

Pick one of the photographs above and complete the following activities:

1) Copy and paste your chosen photograph into a word document or powerpoint slide. You are going to annotate (label) the photograph so it is best to set the paper size to A3.

2) What words come to mind when you are looking at the photograph. Create a word cloud using WORDLE with the words that your group come up with.

3) You are now going to describe your photograph using labels. Add labels as text boxes with arrows. You should describe the flora and fauna (plants and animals) as well as any other features you see. This is a simple description exercise, say what you see.

4) Where is this? Clicking on each photo takes you to a google map showing the area in which the photograph was taken. Use this to add a short description of where each photo was taken.

5) What do you know? What do you think? What do I want to find out?

As a group come up with statements and questions that can go under these three headings. Add them to your picture. Use one text box for each of the headings. Once you have done this and had them checked I want you to see if you can find out the answers to some of the questions you came up.

Task 2: Where do we find Tundra:

The location of the Arctic Tundra

Insert this map into your poster and then describe the distribution of the Tundra. Make sure you include information on the countries in which Tundra is found. You can write your description as a caption below the map image.

Task 3: The Tundra Climate

1) Use this website to create a climate graph for area in your chosen photograph.

2) Write a climate description of the regions climate.

Task 4: Plants and Animals of the Arctic Tundra

BBC nature page Tundra.png

Adaptation in the Tundra

Pick an animal and a plant from the BBC Nature site, preferably ones that can be seen in your picture. Insert a small image of each onto your poster and write a brief description of how this plant and animal can survive in the Tundra. You can write your descriptions as captions or in text boxes next to the image.

Why do you think there were so few plants to choose from when in the Tundra?

Task 5: Humans in the Tundra

inuit dog sled.jpg
An Inuit Sledge and other tools, made from whale bone

1) Using pictures and text, describe the traditional way of life for the people of the Tundra.

  • Where do they live?

  • What do they live in?

  • How do they travel around?

  • What do they eat?

  • How do they hunt?

  • How would you describe their relationship with the Tundra?

Useful links:
The Inuit
Photographs of Inuit from the early 1900's

The Sami photographs from National Geographic
Sami wikipedia article

Children of the Tundra.

People living in the tundra are accustomed to a nomadic life. Tents are their homes, food is basic, and the deer is king. They don't watch TV or use the Internet. However, their children do go to boarding schools, but not all parents are in favor of them. Find out more about life and education out on the tundra on RT.

2) How has life changed for the people of the Tundra?

Using the videos and other information from this page, describe how life has changed for the people of the Tundra.

Make sure you use actual examples in your answer.

Modern day Inuit in in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut, Canada

3) Do you think their life has it changed for the better or the worse? Explain your answer using examples.

Threats to the Arctic: An internet based research project

Use the internet and pages 66 and 67 in Geog.2 to find out how the Arctic Tundra is coming under threat.

You should base your search around these topics.

  • Global Warming
  • Hunting
  • Oil extraction

What do you think?: Should oil extraction be allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (AMWR)? What would be the benefits and negative impacts to the people and the ecosystem?