Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Skip to main content

Trapped by the Ice

PDF Version With Materials

Grade Level: 3

Character Education Focus: Respect and Responsibility


Students will read the story "Trapped by the Ice" which is about the Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Students will identify, write and share examples of respect and responsibility demonstrated by the stories' characters. Then students will identify these same traits and how they demonstrate them in their own lives.

(90 minutes or two 45 minute sessions)

Materials Needed

  1. McCurdy, M. (2003). Trapped by the ice. In J. Cooper & J. Pikulski, Houghton Mifflin Reading: A Legacy of Literacy Grade 3 Theme 5.(pp. 171-201). Boston , M A: Houghton Mifflin. 
  2. Handouts of male and female doll patterns.  

Academic Character Education Objectives

Students will:

  1. Be able to define the character traits of respect and responsibility and provide examples.
  2. Read a short story and identify ways the main character in the story exhibits the character traits of respect and responsibility by writing them down on a character trait doll.
  3. Recognize the character traits of respect and responsibility they possess.
  4. Provide examples of ways they demonstrate respect and responsibility in their own lives.

California English-Language Arts Standards Addressed


2.0 Reading Comprehension

  • 2.2  Ask questions and support answers by connecting prior knowledge with literal information found in, and inferred from, the text.

3.0 Literary Response and Analysis

  • 3.3  Determine what characters are like by what they say or do and by how the author or illustrator portrays them.

Reprinted, by permission, California Department of Education

Lesson Procedures

  1. Introduce the definitions shown below of respect and responsibility and provide examples of each. With each example, highlight the critical attributes of the definition that are illustrated by the example.

Responsibility:  Being accountable for my own actions and choices (and their consequences) without blaming others.

Respect: Treating others the way I want to be treated.

Respect for others:  Being considerate and honoring the feelings, opinions, and property of others.

Respect for self:  Being good to myself and not putting myself down, taking care of myself.

  1. After the definitions are introduced, then ask students to share their own examples of respect and responsibility and tell why this is an example of the trait.
  2. Tell students that they will be reading a true-life adventure story of a man called Sir Ernest Shackleton. In the story, he and other characters demonstrate respect and responsibility. As they read the story ask students to find examples of both respect and responsibility. Tell them they will be writing down some of the examples after reading the story. Students will read “Trapped by the Ice” as a whole class with students and teacher taking turns each reading one page.
  3. Direct students to draw a line down the middle of the character doll pattern lengthwise.  On one half of the head write respect, and on the other half of the head write responsibility.  Have students review the story text to find and write specific examples on the appropriate half of the character profile doll that illustrate Shackleton and other story characters showing respect and responsibility.
  4. Students can draw and color in the image of Shackleton on the blank side of the character trait doll illustrating one of the examples included on their character trait doll.
  5. Divide students into groups of four. Have them take turns sharing one example that is written on their character trait doll. Remind students to listen attentively and show encouragement and appreciation for each person in the group.  Have students process their group work by responding to one or more of the following prompts:
         How did you show respect and responsibility in your group?
         How did someone show you respect in your group?
         What can the group do next time to improve how they work together?
         What would you do differently next time in the group?
  1. Students can then create a character trait doll about themselves, writing ways that they show respect and responsibility in their lives. 
  2. Celebrate the respect and responsibility shown by the students as they share their dolls with the class by clapping for each student and providing a positive comment to each student.
  3.  Ask the class if they see any commonalities of respect and responsibility between the students and Shackleton.
  4. Display the character trait dolls either on a bulletin board or by hanging them from the ceiling.

Academic – Character Education Assessment

Academic Assessment: Teacher observation of the traits listed on the character dolls and statements made during class discussion.

Character Education Assessment: Observe the examples students provide for the traits as well as the identification of how they demonstrate respect and responsibility in their own lives. Observe how the students respond to the processing of their group experience.  

Reflective Journaling Prompts

  • How (do you/can you) show respect toward your parents, brothers/sisters, teacher, classmates, neighbors, or store clerk?
  • What do you do that proves you are responsible at home or school?
  • Share a time when someone showed respect toward you.
  • Share a time when you witnessed someone showing respect toward others.

Extensions and Variations

  • Discuss the ways people of other cultures show respect.
  • Take the information from the character trait doll and write it in the form of a personal narrative.
  • Find and share a newspaper or magazine article depicting adventures similar to Sir Shackleton's.

Based on a lesson by Jenny Watson

Edited by Mary Wilson

© 2005 Orange County Department of Education