Saturday, February 6, 2010

Studying Antarctica


We had a blast studying Antarctica and the Arctic.

Seriously. I think this was one of the most fun areas that we have studied so far. And yes, if you venture on this journey one day, be sure to do it while there are Arctic temperatures outside. It does add to the affect.

I admit that I was not looking forward our Arctic and Antarctic studies. I mean, there aren't any people, so there wasn't any clothing, food, or any type of culture to study! We haven't studied animals in any other countries because our science studies are covered at our co-op. But it seemed like the only thing to study in these areas.

Yep. We were left with animals and explorers. Ugh.

Or so I thought.

Turns out that we loved both topics completely. And both topics pointed us to God over and over again.

The animals in these areas were so fun to "meet"! We made a lot of use of National Geographic DVD's. Our favorite one (by FAR) was, "Really Wild Animals: Polar Prowl". The kids learned so much from this video and it was very well done. Our other favorite was The Blue Planet Seas of Life: Ocean Worlds, Frozen Seas. It appears to be discontinued by the manufacturer, but our library had it.

And yes, we watched a little bit of, "March of the Penguins," but it was a bit "slow" for the kids. I'll finish myself another time. The story of the penguins is amazing and speaks of the majesty of God's design in His creation over and over again.

We talked about food chains and food webs during our studies. And of course, we talked a lot about penguins, the clear favorite animal in this house!

It was really convenient that the local library hosted an activity hour called, "Penguins and Polar Bears" during our study! The girls had a great time at the library and enjoyed the topic so much more because they were knowledgeable about it from our studies.

The librarian gave a talk about these creatures and shared information with the children.

Yes, the girls remembered a lot of the information that we had learned.

Then we created a cotton ball polar bear and an "ice scene" with aluminum foil and colored creatures.

We spent our second week studying Sir Ernest Shackleton, an Antarctic Explorer. His story is amazing and inspiring. Truly God has a protective hand on him during his journey. Shackleton himself was an amazing example of servant leadership, so we talked a lot about his character as well.

The video, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure, is well worth watching. And yes, I did cry. Some of it was intense, though visually it was tame enough for the kids to watch and listen to. The parts that gave me chills often were beyond their comprehension.

And, at the end of it all, was our get together with friends.

We began by making an Arctic food web. The paper plate represents the ice. The animals on top of the ice are on the top of the food chain. The animals under the ice are the ones that live in the water and are lower in the food chain. And of course, it is all held together by the energy from the sun.

(idea from Beyond Penguins website in Fall 2009 issue)

Next we talked about snow crystals. Snow crystals begin with a hexagonal shape, so we started with that as our base. Then everyone had a fun time creating their snow crystals.

Yes, my house was a busy place!

Next, we were off to the basement for the Antarctic Olympics! First, we were polar bears who had to crawl on all fours to get our (Swedish) Fish from the ice hole (plate).

Then we were penguins who had to pass our penguin egg (bean bag) gently from our feet to the person's feet in line behind us. No fair using hands and don't let it drop!

Finally, it was time to get dressed for our Arctic Adventure! We had a snow clothing relay race as everyone raced one at a time to put on their hat, scarf, and boots.

Then it was presentation time. K (age 7) gave a talk about penguins.

T (age 5) talked about the dangers of icebergs.

Then it was snack time. We had some boxed drinks (so they wouldn't go bad while exploring) as well as some explorer food. It was a lovely mix of foods that would not go bad if you were stuck on a boat in the Arctic. We also had some Italian Ice!

And yes, little C (6 months), was there! Of course, he was dressed for the wrong continent.

Another great continent study!


Debbie said...

What a neat study! I love geography, and I look forward to studying the Arctic with my kiddos someday--great ideas!

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

this is so fun! i'm inspired by your galloping the globe posts. ;)

Jolanthe said...

Antarctica was probably my favorite continent to study too! :)