by Meg Hansen, Director of Marketing and Communications

The Endurance shipwreck has been discovered off the coast of Antarctica and 3rd grade teacher Caroline Long is beyond excited. Since college she has been studying Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition and, in particular, the Shackleton approach to team building. She has been teaching her classes about the lessons of this expedition ever since.

Three years ago, her students (now 6th graders), studied this famous expedition as part of their unit on Colorado history and explorers in general. This led to her class forming a relationship with some very important scientists linked to the expedition to find the sunken Endurance. Back then, Caroline led her students as one of the few classes in the world to study it. As a result, they got to know the captain of the ship really well and Dr. John Shears, who won the Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen for outstanding achievement and service in the field of polar research in 2019. During that particular expedition three years ago, scientists were met with many obstacles and difficulties and had to end their mission. So many lessons for our students resulted including the importance of persistence…and endurance. Those third graders moved on to 6th grade and the scientists continued their research in how to reach the Endurance.

Last fall, Caroline signed up to join the virtual expedition again. In January, this year’s 3rd graders studied the expedition as part of their studies on weather and in particular, how groups collaborate and work together to solve problems. Connection to the expedition included following the ship’s blog, receiving weekly emails, and having several opportunities to Zoom with different members of the expedition team. Over the last couple months, they met with the captain, the ship’s cook, the weather station, ice scientist, AUV operators and even visited the helicopter hanger.

Today, as the ship’s discovery was announced to the world, Caroline’s classes (both this year’s 3rd graders and current 6th graders) could not contain their excitement. The world knew what they had been following and studying. Persistency, grit, solving problems together…and endurance…had won. Via live feed, Reach The World brought our 3rd graders and Chad Bonin and Mensun Bound (the two members of the discovery team) back together again to discuss their excitement over the discovery. The class erupted in cheers and congratulations for these scientists, their crew, and their incredible discovery.

As the ship heads to South Georgia Island (where Shackleton headed after leaving the Endurance), Caroline begins prepping for next year’s class, adding a new chapter to the lessons of this incredible expedition and the characteristics exhibited by its resilient crew…and those who discovered the ship 107 years later.

You can read more about the discovery of the Endurance here:

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