Friday, February 26, 2010

Animal Habitats - Week 3 - Animals of the Polar Regions.

Animals of the Polar Regions

1.The two polar regions on the Earth are the North and South Pole, we talked about the different geographical locations of each. 
The North Pole (Arctic Circle) does not contain any land - only ice!   HUGE masses of ice but no real land.  It is extremely cold here all year long. 

As you move away from the pole towards land, the land that borders the ocean is called the Tundra.

    The South Pole has land - it is covered by the continent Antarctica.  This land stays frozen year long and it is very cold here all year as well.

    Discuss just HOW cold it gets at the polar regions..
    2. Draw a large 'thermometer' on butcher paper.  Label the thermometer in ten degree increments from -100 degrees to 150 degress.  Label the thermometer with outrageous (but real) temperatures from around the world. 
    • The coldest natural temperature ever recorded at the surface of the Earth was −89.2 °C (−129 °F; 184 K) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica July 21, 1983 (
    • The highest natural temperature ever recorded was 136 °F at Al 'Aziziyah, Libya on 1922-09-13
    • The highest temperature recorded in the USA was 125.1 degrees F at Death Valley, CA on 1913- 07-10
    • The coldest temperature recorded at the Artic was −87 °F at North Ice, Greenland on 1954-01-09.
    I then asked the kids what it felt like when they went outside this morning (it was COLD here ) at about 32 degrees F. 

    The kids all said it was cold and I recorded the temperature on the 'thermometer' in red marker.  The kids were so surprised to see just HOW cold it was compared to the cold temperatures found at the polar regions!  They began squealing and jumping around!  It was a very simple but fun way to help them understand how cold it was.
    • We then recorded the temperature of the room we were in (around 70 degrees F) and I drew that line on the thermometer as well in red marker.  I provided the kids with a paper thermometer printable to put in their Nature Study Notebooks and encouraged them to all to check an outside thermometer throughout the week and keep a record of it and note in the nature journal for that day how the weather felt to them. You can find a free thermometer printable here.
    You can find some other temperatures to use here.

    • Next, talk about your cold experiences.  I told the kids about my little female pomeranian who LOVES the cold.
    • Pomeranians can stay warm because they have 2 coats of fur.  These coats are different textures and lengths. 
    • I explained to the kids that my dog has a very thick undercoat.  Her undercoat is short but it keeps her very warm. 
    • Above this undercoat, she has a second coat that is longer. It's this 2nd shiny, long 'top' coat that you see when you look at her. 
    • I explained to the children that God gave pomeranians these coats to help keep them warm. 
    • In fact, Brit enjoys the snow so much, when my son tries to call her back into the house , she will run in circles to make a 'nest' out of the snow and lay down in it where my son can not see her!  We have marvelled and laughed at her for years over this.  My 8 year old son always tells us he must get his winter coat and boots on when he goes to bring her in because he has to walk out into the snow to look for her!  
    When he finds her, she then rolls over on her back (right in the snow!) for him to pick her up like a baby and bring her in the house!  On hot days, she just about knocks him down to get back in the house but in the snow- she runs from him!  In my humble experience, these cute, personal stories help the children retain more of the information and gain a better understanding!
    3. Discuss/review that God had given all of the animals the proper "tools" they needed to survive in their natural habitats.  Review the word 'habitat' again. (the natural conditions and environment in which a plant or animal lives, e.g. forest, desert, or wetlands.)

    Just as my dog has two different coats, the Lord has blessed the animals of the polar regions with thier own special characteristics that allow them to live in these extremely cold areas of the world.  

    Then, on the fifth day, God made the creatures of the sea and the birds of the air. Who but God would have thought of so many shapes, sizes and colors for all the birds and fish? And who but God would have planned so carefully for their homes before He put them on earth? The Bible says He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and let birds multiply on the earth.”

    How Amazing!

    This was the end of Day 1 on the Polar Regions Unit Study of Animal Habitats.  We will divide the polar regions and begin learning about each specific region on Days 2 & 3 with art, experiments, and hands on activities.  We will be reading some great books and continuing with lapnotebooking.  Please check back with us for our remaining units in this study!

    What's Ahead:
    Some things to looki forward to in the next couple of units!

    Blubber Glove
    example:  Example of Blubber Glove

    Culminating Activity:
    To celebrate what they've learned- here is an "Arctic Expert" pin for your student(s).  Give the Expert pins out at the end of each habitat as a reward and celebration of all the student(s) learned from the unit.  You may sew an easy sash to put the pins on or pin to their purse, backpack, or favorite carry all (bag) for their nature study outings! 

    Simply print the Artic Expert pins and laminate them (I use self sealing laminating pages which only cost about $8 for a large pack at our local Walmart) then hot glue a pin to the back.  The kids will be proud to show off their expertised!

    Suggested Books and Resources:
    FREE Lapbooks and Unit Studies that coincide with this unit and the books listed. Click here.
    The Magic School Bus Chapter Book #13 - Polar Bear Patrol - (for the Arctic)
    The Magic School Bus Chapter Book #8 - Penguin Puzzle - (for Antarctica)

    1 comment:

    Orla's Ark said...

    This is a great nature/animal curriculum. We love learning about animals, that's why we started sharing our homeschool science project, Orla's Ark, with others. But these lessons are wonderful. It seems that finding fun lesson plans that are focused on creation is becoming a challenge. Love it. Thank you so much!