Well mate, I think you're in luck because I happen to be a primary school teacher. You're right about the Antarctica thing and Aussie kids. It's actually in our HSIE (Human society and its Environment) syllabus. It's to do with our Autsralian neighbours!! The penguins make really good neighbours!
This is the sharing part. I'm actually putting together a program using a differentiated curriculum approach about teaching subjects like Antarctica. The reason I'm doing this is a Masters which I am currently battling through, and the fact that as you said it's usually bells and whistles. I'm actually really excited about it and I think that's been the biggest motivator for my students. I've called it "Antarctica: A different world" because of the differentiated curriculum idea (real original stuff here!) and it is supposed to highlight to kids the differences between Australia and Antarctica even though it is as you said, so close. It's also supposed to highlight similarities since most of Australia is desert.
The program will progress to eventually looking at environmental factors once the kids have become totally fascinated (so they'll become environmentalists too). One of the activities will be for kids to build a shelter (using old sheets, twine and sticks!!) and to actually sit in it for a day! It's only week 3 and that's in week 5 so I'll let you know how that goes. It's late Autumn here so I hope we get good weather!
If you would like a yet to be finished copy of the program I would be ahppy to help. When the powerpoint presentations that the kids are going to do are finished I'll post something up and you can check them out and give me feedback.
I'm a freebie sort of person so I'll give you feedback for free. Just give me an opportunity to talk...or type in this case!
I was actually just working on the program and I thought I'll check my mail one last time (I'm kinda waiting for something!) and now I'm all perky again. MInd you it's 2.27am at the moment and the wood heater is looking quite cheery!