Happy Wednesday! Last week I posted about the Arctic here and here…and here you will find my outline for the unit. Now it’s time for teaching a little about the life on mysterious Antarctica! Animals are the only inhabitants of the South Pole and there’s such a variety!
Much of what we did came from lapbooking sites. HomeschoolShare offers polar lapbooking resources and there’s free penguin lapbook resources and killer whale lapbook resources at LapbookLessons.com. They have some great lapbook templates to use.
Much to my surprise, the Albatross captured the fascination of my girls. Aside from our library books, we read facts from National Geographic where we could even listen to Albatross calls! We compared the Albatross wingspan of 11 feet to areas in our house so we could see how ginormous they were. Yes, their wingspan is even longer than Daddy is tall!! RSPB Wildlife Explorers had some great information and and you can even make your own paper albatross, but we chose to make the Albatross Puppets from the National Wildlife Federation. These were a HUGE hit and have been flying around the house for the past few days!
Penguins were such a fascinating topic. My girls were impressed to find out that Emperor Penguins can grow as big as a 6-year-old! My daughter is 6, so this was quite impressive! National Geographic Kids had a great selection of penguin videos and pictures, among other facts.
There were several resources from LapbookLessons.com that we used, including the Life Cycle of a Penguin and an easy reader using thumbprints to form penguins. My daughter also read a free Penguin Party reader that we downloaded from Powol Packets. The little readers we find help boost her reading confidence!
I think our favorite penguin activity though, was getting our feet a little messy for our penguin footprints.
Krill were mentioned in a lot of our readings for this week. To learn about krill, we used the small booklet from HomeschoolShare.com to record the facts we learned from both the video Antarctic Krill on Youtube.com and National Geographic Kids, where you can see red swarms of krill on top of the water. It’s amazing that these one to two-inch creatures are the basis of many food chains. In fact, they are just a few steps below us! For example, if you eat tuna or salmon, those animals eat krill. They are an extremely important building block!
Aren’t Blue-eyed Shag colorful? At first look, these birds look a lot like penguins, but they are in fact birds that fly! They are a form of cormorant that have an orange-colored growth that appears during mating season and strategically hunt for fish, floating on the water in what appears to be a raft-like cluster. It’s interesting that these birds like to stay out of the ice and their babies are born without down to keep them warm. Take a look at this video where you can see Rockhoppers, Blue-eyed Shag, and Black browed Albatross. See if you can pick out the Blue-eyed Shag! For the Blue-eyed Shag, we printed out a picture from online and wrote facts on a 3×5 card to glue into our lapbooks.
Just like the wolverine, Enchanted Learning had an online coloring picture that both kids enjoyed coloring. Aside from our library books, the National Geographic site had some additional facts and and it was so neat to listen to the audio (look on the site’s right menu) of what seals sound like!! You can also check out Weddell Seals on Youtube.com, which are one of the largest species of seals. My girls really enjoyed being able to see the animals in action.
While studying seals, we used straws to blow watercolors across a sheet of paper. Doing this, created some interesting creations! I fell in love with the kids art on Pinterest
A while ago, I had falled in love with this post I saw on Pinterest and had to try out the seal art. I simply cut around the girls watercolor creations and ended up with some adorable seals (which even led to a discussion on animal training).
We read numerous books about whales. Aside from books, you can check out National Geographic Kids, offering information on the Blue Whale and the National Wildlife Federation explaing that the Blue whale are not only the biggest, but loudest creatures on Earth. If you are studying whiles after learning about krill, you might be interested in this short BBC video clip of whales hunting krill in Antarctica.
We recorded our facts on the back of construction paper whales. After tracing a template from an image search, the girls “dressed” them up with bows. It was good practice in tying bows for my kindergartener!
My girls are really into coloring right now, so we also printed off this Blue Whale coloring page to add into our lapbooks.
Sharks are almost everywhere, except….the waters of Antarctica! The waters are much too cold for sharks to inhabit the area. So on our study of the South Pole we crossed out sharks and added this symbol to our lapbook!
Next week I’ll be posting some general ideas for the polar regions, as well as some learning we’ve done about the people of the Arctic and scientists of the Antarctic. Hope to see you back here next week!
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out The Usual Mayhem, Journey 2 Excellence, Childhood Beckons, and Montessori Tidbits who each have posted about Polar Animals this week. We’d love to have you follow along with each of us!
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