Let's start with some Arctic basics:
Can you name the eight Arctic States? For the complete list see below.
Where/what is the Arctic? There are many definitions. To quote the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center: "The Arctic Circle is technically everything above 66 degrees, 30 minutes North Latitude. However, other definitions rely on the presence of tundra vegetation, distribution of 'Arctic' animals like the walrus, the presence of permafrost, the temperature of the region or even the southern limit of pack ice during the winter." For more from this source, and some Arctic FAQs, see http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/html/resources_faq.html
What is the Arctic Council? A cooperative forum, not an international organization, in which the Arctic States and the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and other entities address areas of common concern- see http://arctic-council.org/section/the_arctic_council
How does the Arctic differ from Antarctica, beyond having polar bears rather than penguins?: Antarctica is governed by a unified treaty regime; the Arctic is not. Consensus appears to be growing -- see, e.g. the May 2008 Ilulissat Declaration --
that the Arctic does not need a new, comprehensive treaty because a range of existing treaties and binding agreements combine with existing "soft law" instruments to offer sufficient structures and norms to address the most important arctic issues.
For the kids (and others) to test their knowledge of arctic fundamentals, visit EducaPoles, the educational site of the International Polar Foundation.
That's it for starters. As to the eight states in question, they are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
On the road with Films from the North
5 days ago