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The microorganisms that inhabit Earth’s polar regions are uniquely adapted to live in these harsh places. Explore how these tiny organisms survive and learn about the important part they play in Earth’s carbon cycle.


In this course, you will learn that there is more to Earth’s polar regions than the animals you can see! The microorganisms that inhabit our coldest and most remote regions – tiny bacteria, archaea, and protists – have unique adaptations that allow them to live in these harsh places. They also play an important role in Earth’s carbon cycle. Students will learn what makes polar environments unique, how microbes have adapted to thrive in these environments and how these microbes help to regulate Earth’s climate. Students will have the option to construct a simple climate model using the open-source computer language R.

What You Will Learn


Students in Elementary School: Polar Microbes will:

  • Distinguish the Arctic and the Antarctic by their unique physical, chemical, and biological characteristics
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the microbial life present in polar regions
  • Understand how polar microbes contribute to the carbon cycle and help regulate Earth’s climate
  • Perform research and deliver a presentation on an interesting polar microbe and its potential application for human use
  • Know how to construct a simple climate model in the computer language R
Return to the Sally Ride Science website here. 

Course Number: SIO-90042
Credit: 1.50 unit(s)