The PolarPODibus, a minibus that is currently travelling across France visiting schools, colleges and places of scientific, technical and industrial significance, is the cornerstone of the Polar POD expedition's educational programme. The PolarPODibus aims to provide an insight into the Polar POD expedition and improve understanding of its scientific objectives. 

As it crosses the country, the PolarPODibus offers interactive classes on the Polar POD expedition, complemented by activities that are tailored to the audience. The classes are presented by a scientific mediator and can offer either a general overview or more of a deep-dive, as needed.

The educational programme, which has been agreed with the French Ministry of Education, has been constructed in collaboration with teachers and subject-matter experts. Clément Le Potier, one of the scientific experts attached to the PolarPODibus, explains more about the project.


What happens during a visit from the PolarPODibus? 

The PolarPODibus offers an insight into the Polar POD expedition to explore the Southern Ocean, which aims to better understand our planet in the context of global environmental and climate dynamics.


How was the content of the PolarPODibus designed to fit with the school curriculum? 

We designed the content with my colleague Cécile Malavaud, a scientific mediator, under the supervision of Elsa Peny-Etienne, the director of the expedition.  We proposed a first session to the French National Education Authority and with their help, we then developed a programme of activities to be delivered via the PolarPODibus.  This programme has been designed to fit in with the school curriculum from primary to secondary school. It also provides a set of specific resources to facilitate educational activities at different levels and in different subjects. Sessions last an hour on average. All of this is done in partnership with the Ministry of National Education.


Where has the bus been so far? Where is it going next?

The bus started touring French schools in January 2023 with the Académie de Paris (the Parisian school district), in primary schools, middle schools, high schools and vocational schools in several districts. After that, we spent a month in the Versailles school district, followed by the Toulouse school district, where I was in Figeac, Beaumont de Lomagne, Nogaro and Mazamet. I am currently in Albi, then I will go to Villefranche de Rouergue and Saint-Gaudens. And in a few weeks, we'll head up to Brittany. Our schedule is full until the end of the school year, so that's very good news. 


How do you organise these sessions? 

My colleague Cécile helps me with the organisation and booking with the schools and then I present the classes. We plan to be on the road across mainland France for at least five to six years, which will allow us to visit each school district at least once. 


What are your objectives for the project, and your plans for the future? 

Having the opportunity to meet the Polar POD team and scientists involved in the project should help to raise awareness and interest in oceanographic exploration. We hope to open up new perspectives towards careers in the ocean sciences and foster the students’ interest in protecting our precious environment. 

Once the Polar POD mission is fully underway, there are plans to have video conferences or calls with the team, either from the Polar POD or the Perseverance (the ship that will supply the Polar POD). It will be interesting for the children because they will be able to learn about the many different jobs that are needed for an expedition like this.  For instance, it’s not just scientists on board, there are also sailors and a cook. There is so much more to the Polar POD expedition – and oceanographic exploration – than meets the eye, and interactions with the PolarPODibus are a great way to discover that. 

Polar Pod

The Polar Pod Expedition

The maritime expedition to promote a better understanding of the environment and climate change