I hate to be fickle, but my focus has changed. Yesterday it was all about the big picture, today it’s about my research project … 

The reason for the shift in focus is that I spent yesterday evening with my research partners from the University of Portsmouth. We were discussing the testing that we should go through before, during and after the expedition. It’s all a little gruesome.

In May we are going to discover: 

  • Exactly how much fat we have and where it is 
  • How quickly we start sweating and how much we produce 
  • How fit we are 
  • What happens when we are dunked in cold water 
  • How well our hands work when we are cold

These tests should allow us to tell how well adapted each of us is to the cold. It could all be quite demoralising – “you are scrawny, unfit and incapable of operating in the cold … enjoy the Antarctic!”

I’m back at school after a motivating Geographical Association conference in Derby, where I had the chance to talk to people about the aims of my expedition. It was encouraging to note the enthusiasm and interest in what we are planning to do.

People were particularly interested in how the expedition could feed into:

  • climate change projects
  • Science careers evenings
  • the ‘Extreme Environment’ section of the new pilot GCSE

This blog has the potential to help fill many gaps in a variety of curriculums.

What would you add to the list above? 

Ever wondered about your mental state? About what sort of mindset you need to be a teacher? Well, I might soon be able to answer those questions.

My research project was originally going to look at the physiological side of coping with extremes. However, the University of Portsmouth (my research partners) wants to broaden the project to look also at the role of the mind in coping with extremes.

I was worried enough about what they will find when they perform cold water immersion, fitness, altitude and body fat tests on me! Having my mental state tested as well is making me very uneasy. The first round of testing – both physiological and psychological – is likely to be in March.

What do you think they’re going to find about the teachers brain?