Scott of the Antarctic – Key question 5 Why did he not get to the South Pole first?

In this lesson in the teaching sequence on Scott as a famous person, or as part of a more integrated topic on Cold lands, pupils have to solve a history mysteryIf Scott and his team were so brave, why then did they fail to get to the South Pole first?  The pupils need to have already looked at the main phases of the expedition and know some of the set backs Scott faced through their work.

Learning objectives

  • childrens understand at least two reasons why Scott was unsuccessful and can articulate them with confidence
  • they understand that some of the reasons are to do with Scott and some with Amundsen or ‘other factors’ such as luck and the change in weather


Having looked at the setbacks that Scott faced, the children will already be quite well-briefed when they come to this session. To make sure that the lesson builds on what they already know, ask them to work in pairs and to think of 3 possible reasons to explain why Scott failed to get to the South Pole first.

Step 1

These will be tentative, but record them anyway to show how much deeper their understanding

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