Sunday 17 December 2017

Polar Animals Activities

We attend a lot of homeschool groups and activities but our regular project group is among our favourites. We are working on an animal theme at the moment which has seen us learning about dinosaurs, microorganisms, horses, woodland creatures and much more! At our last session we learnt about polar animals, a fitting topic for this time of year.   

Sorting Arctic and Antarctic animals

We began by looking at where these animals lived on the Earth. Above is D's drawing of the world which we used as a visual aid. We talked about the Arctic and Antarctic and the differences between them which lead to different animals living in each location. Firstly, the Arctic is frozen ocean whereas the Antarctic is a continent made up of various landforms such as mountains, valleys and lakes. Secondly, the Arctic is warmer than the Antarctic and this could affect the life in the area.

We talked about which animals live in the Arctic and which animals lived in the Antarctic. For example, polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in the Antarctic. We used these printable pictures of the animals and placed them on the Earth in the relevant areas.

Then we looked at more information about some of the animals in more detail.

How are polar animals adapted to the environment?

While we were discussing each animal, we talked about how they were adapted to the cold environment they live in. The children used these printables to make posters showing how each animal was adapted.

Blubber experiment

To help the children gain a better understanding of how these adaptations allowed the animals to survive in cold climates, we did some experiments so the children could find out. We started with the blubber experiment. The children put a disposable glove on one hand and cover it with Trex (vegetarian equivalent of lard). Then they plunged both hands (one covered in Trex and one without) into icy water to see which one stayed warmest. They discovered that the hand covered in Trex was warmest and I explained how that was like the blubber surrounding an animal and keeping it warm.

How do penguins stay dry?

Our next experiment was to find out how penguins keep dry. I gave the children one of these printables and asked them to colour the whole penguin with wax crayons.

Next, they sprayed their colourings with water. They were surprised to see water droplets staying on the surface of the paper, where the wax crayon was, and not going through. This was a great way to show the children how penguins stay dry. 

Building animal dens

Our next practical activity was really fun and enjoyed by all the children. I set up a table with dry spaghetti and small, white marshmallows and asked the children to construct animal dens. The spaghetti could be broken up into different sizes depending on the construction. It was amazing to see some of their creations!

Once the children have made some animal dens, you could add some little animals and turn it into a small world play scene. We did not have any polar animals so added some snowmen instead!

Origami polar bears

Our final activity was making origami polar bears. We used this tutorial which included a helpful video. These are so quick and easy to make and can be adapted to different types of bears. My children have been making these on and off all week in slightly different shapes and sizes!

We have all had a lot of fun learning about polar animals and have now come to the end of our animals topic. Have you been learning about polar animals in your homeschool?

Additional articles of interest


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