23 Degrees 5 Minutes

Age Range: 9 - 11
By: Sam Collins

Genre(s): Historical, Adventure

An old explorer close to freezing in the Arctic re-lives the events that have brought him there.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Watch the sequence from 1:40 to 2:25 where Professor Orit explains metaphor. Make a collection of metaphors like “raining cats and dogs”
  • Write your own dialogue between Babbage (the Explorer) and Professor Orit and act it out with a partner.
  • Compare Professor Orit to other professors in books, for example Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter,  Professor Branestawm, Professor DuPont in Cockatoos by Quentin Blake.
  • Compare the two settings of the story; the university and the arctic.
  • Stop the film at 5:15. What effect does the rain have on the story?
  • Write the story of what happened to the professor after he went missing.
  • Write a newspaper report about Babbage’s rescue.
  • Write a story that uses flashback.
  • Make a storyboard for the film.
  • Watch the trailer for the film and then plan your own - what would you put in it?


  • Practice using a protractor to measure real life angles. What is the closest you can find to 23 degrees, 5 minutes?
  • 2, 3 and 5 are all prime numbers. What are the next 10 prime numbers?
  • Go searching for Fibonacci numbers, using these ideas from Mensa.


  • Write an explanation of how the tilt of the Earth causes the seasons.
  • Make a fact file about an Arctic habitat - what would you need to survive? How are animals adapted to the conditions?
  • What materials could you use to provide good insulation in the extreme cold?

Design Technology

  • Design clothes for an arctic explorer to wear.


  • The blog of the film shows the visual references used in the film (photographs and pictures from the time when the film is set). Choose a time in history and research visual references you can use to make your own image of the time.
  • The blog has a fascinating section on how the characters developed. Try out some different sketches for a character of your own.
  • This blog entry shows how different colours and lighting were used in the film. Sketch a scene in pencil, photocopy it and try colouring it in different ways - what is the effect?


  • Plan a route from Dublin to the Arctic. How could you get there?


  • Research arctic exploration and create a timeline.
  • Set at the turn of the 20th century in Dublin. What was it like in your area then?
  • Stop at the film at 1:26; what kind of transport can you see? How is it different from today?


  • Babbage describes Orit as “Like a father to me”. What do you think he means?
  • Was Babbage right to go after Orit?


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