Activities at PSW 2015 will be similar to those of PSW 2014,
which are listed below.  Please check back later for updates.


Passport Stations, Demonstrations and Activities
for Polar Science Weekend 2014

Meet a Scientist at these Passport Stations

Investigating Arctic Ice Melt

Discover what local scientists are learning about climate change and Arctic sea ice through images, videos, objects and hands-on activities. (BUILDING 2, PORTAL TO CURRENT RESEARCH)

Expeditionary Art

See paintings of the Polar Regions and talk to the artist, Maria Coryell-Martin, who went there and painted them.

How can art help us to be better scientists?

Glacier Flow

Watch glaciers made out of silly putty ooze down a slope and find out what makes them so important in the world’s climate.

Where does the ice in glaciers come from?

Greenland Ice Core

See a real core of ice from the Greenland ice sheet. Learn how scientists use ice cores to study Greenland and climate change.

What do the bubbles in the ice core tell us?

Ocean Watchdogs

Learn how scientists retrieve a 13,000-foot-long string of scientific instruments anchored to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.

Why do we anchor the string of instruments to the bottom of the ocean instead of hanging it from the ice on the surface of the ocean?

Polar Science Technology

Find out what a ULS and a CTD are. Check out a buoy that’s deployed on the sea ice and watch how it drifts across the Arctic.  Meet the underwater robot Seaglider and learn about buoyancy.

What does a CTD measure?

Salinity Taste Test

Can you taste the difference between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans? Your tongue is an amazing salinometer! Come try it out.

How salty is the ocean?

Sea Ice vs. Freshwater Ice

Feel the difference between salty ice and fresh ice.  Watch what happens when colored dye is dropped on the ice.

What does “porous” mean?

U.S. Coast Guard
(Friday and Saturday only)

Learn about life on an icebreaker. Try on a survival suit!

How thick is the ice that an icebreaker can break through?

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
(Friday and Saturday only)

Learn how polar bears are impacted by global warming and what you can do to help protect these incredible animals.  Check out a polar bear skull and pelt.

What do polar bears eat?

Below Freezing: Looking for Microbes in the Coldest Places
(Saturday only)

Discover what astrobiology is, and what it has to do with ice.

Besides Earth, where in the solar system is there ice?

Narwhal Mysteries!
(Friday and Saturday only)

Learn about narwhals – play an activity game and collect your own data to solve the mystery!

How deep do narwhals dive for food?

Living with Penguins – Our Fascination and Our Impact

Meet penguin researchers and learn how to census and measure penguins.

How do you estimate the health of a wildlife population?

Where is the Polar Front?
(Sunday only)

Use a research ship or satellites to map the water temperature of the Southern Ocean.

How does water temperature influence the atmosphere and the climate?

The Influence of Polar Seas on the Global Ocean
(Saturday and Sunday only)

Challenge your understanding of the deep oceans by exploring how temperature and salt influence ocean circulation.

Where does the water in the deep ocean come from?

Microbes Rule!
(Friday only)

Nitrogen is an important part of our planet, especially in the ocean.  Explore the nitrogen cycle in the Bering Sea.

How do little microbes affect oceans in big ways?

Moving Sea Ice
(Friday and Sunday only)

Discover the connection between sea ice and wind in the Arctic Ocean.

How does climate change affect the Arctic Ocean?

Where Does Arctic Ocean Water Come From?

Water enters the Arctic Ocean from many sources.

Can you name one?

The Great White of the Arctic

The mysterious Greenland shark is the largest fish in the Arctic and could be one of the longest-living vertebrates on the planet.

What does the Greenland shark eat?

Waves in the Arctic Ocean
(Saturday only)

Test your skill as an ocean wave observer and see if you can tell how big the waves are.

How big are waves in the Arctic Ocean?

Living and Working in Antarctica

See what it’s like to live and work on the coldest, driest, highest and windiest continent.  Check out the tent and the clothing!

How cold is it in Antarctica in the summer?  In the winter?

Polar Slideshow
(Saturday and Sunday only)
See what it’s like to work in the Arctic and Antarctic and talk to a veteran of more than 30 polar field programs.

How do scientists set up ice camps in the spring out on the Arctic sea ice?

Archaeology and Environment in the Ancient Northwest Pacific
(Sunday only)

Pretend to be a scientist as you move your field crew through the Kuril Islands, dodging powerful storms and surf, while you “dig up” evidence of past people, animals, natural hazards, and climate.

What is the most powerful force affecting people and the way they live?

Infrared Light – Taking the Temperature of Earth, Mars and the Moon
(Saturday and Sunday only)

Use a thermal camera to explore the surface of Mars and the Moon.

Where can you find ice and how cold is it?

Stinky, Slimy Fish Stomachs
(Friday only)

Look inside a fish stomach!

What is most important to measure?  Does size matter?


Extreme Cold- Mike Steele

What is the Arctic?  What is the Antarctic?  What is sea ice?  How cold is it there?  Not as cold as liquid nitrogen!  Let’s freeze stuff and smash it!

FRI 11:30 a.m.
SAT 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
SUN 11:30 a.m.

Keep it Cool for Polar Bears!- Heather Detwiler

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s science educator will talk about how polar bears are ideally suited to their Arctic home and how their Arctic habitat is changing.  Enjoy a polar bear “dress-up” demonstration, touch real polar bear fur and a skull model and find out what you can do to help polar animals.

SAT 4 p.m.

Expeditionary Art- Maria Coryell-Martin

Learn the history of polar expeditionary art and how Maria Coryell-Martin continues this tradition today!  Maria will also share tools for field sketching, and how to draw her favorite polar animals.

SUN 2:30 p.m.

Living and Working in Antarctica- Alasdair Turner

What is it like to live and work on the coldest, driest, highest and windiest continent?  Photographer Alasdair Turner documents daily life living and working for the United States Antarctic Program as a field trainer and mountaineer.

SAT 1 p.m.
SUN 1 p.m.

Polar Activities

IMAX films

Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure tells the dramatic tale of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated 1914-1916 expedition to Antarctica, which has become a testament to heroism and human endurance.

Boeing IMAX® Theater
FRI, SAT, SUN @ 11:45 a.m., 2:15 & 4:45 p.m.

To the Arctic 3D takes audiences on a never-before-experienced journey into the lives of a mother polar bear and her twin seven-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home.

FRI, SAT & SUN @ 10:30 & 11:45 a.m.

The Sky Tonight – Focus on the Poles
(Building 2, Planetarium)

Visit tonight’s sky in Seattle, at the North Pole and the South Pole in our Planetarium.

Exploring Earth’s Polar Regions through Science on a Sphere
(Building 2)

See video loops of the Earth’s sea ice, ice sheets, air temperature and more on a six-foot diameter sphere.

Make an Origami Penguin
(Building 2)

Fold your own favorite Antarctic animal.

FRI 10-2
SAT and SUN 10-4

Arctic Ice Camp
(Ackerley Family Gallery)

Visit the hut, check out the equipment, and try on the clothing!

Sled Pull
(Ackerley Family Gallery)

Put on the harness and pull the sled, just like polar explorers used to do!