08 October, 2010

Brrrrrr, Antarctica!

Brrrrrrrrr!  It is difficult for me to imagine how very, very cold it gets in Antarctica.  I tell my students it is so cold that no one lives there except scientists.  I think about what those scientists must see, from time to time.  They must wake up and look out over a vast, seemingly desolate sea of white.  It must feel sort of crazy that that space holds so much scientific information.  And yet . . .

Here is my Arctic Circle and Antarctica studies box!  

I really need to separate these two groups of activities as my friend Colleen at Sunrise Learning Lab has reminded me this morning.  Her point that though these two area share some characteristics, but definitely NOT others, is well taken, but for now one box will have to suffice.  But don't fret Colleen!  I'm putting it on my "to do" list!  : )

The materials and activities included in this box do provide my students with an introduction to life in Antarctica: some activities about penguins, snowflake card matching, money from Antarctica (who knew that existed?!?), lovely and very sparkly "ice crystals" for sorting and transferring, and some great books.  I also have some awesome web sites from which I want to make some more printed materials, but I am getting ahead of myself here.  So let me start from the beginning.

Here are some books from the box!

And I have quite a few penguin items: matching Safari penguin toob penguins, a "Parts of a Penguin" puzzle, and penguin and chick matching cards.  Boy do my students love penguins!  Oh, and I also have some cards that I made after seeing a post on My Montessori Journey, "How to draw a penguin."  Here is that post.  I swear that woman is a genius!  Below is a penguin drawn by one of my students, last year.

I also have some awesome items from the continent swap, made by the lovely and talented swap guru, Honey.  These include oh-so- sparkly ice crystals (that I may have trouble keeping away from my daughter), and an AMAZING felted polar bear (although he is not pictured here as he apparently jumped into a friend's suitcase during a recent girls' weekend.  Naughty bear!)  Other items included money from Antarctica, a layering pieces penguin puzzle, a layering pieces polar bear puzzle, a wooden "penguin" egg (for balancing on feet of course), and an aurora borealis stone!  So spiffy!

Check out Honey's blog, Mondorfment, here for even more information about her Antarctica items.  She is hosting a free give-away too, but it ends tomorrow so you'll have to move fast!

What else would I like to have in my Antarctica box?  Well . . .

Here are some things I want to know about Antarctica:  If you were a scientist performing research in Antarctica, what would you be studying?  What exactly would you be looking for and why?  What would your daily life be like?  What clothing would you wear and what would you eat?  What are some animals you might see, and how cold is it exactly?

Antarctic Research Stations:
With those questions in mind, I did start looking up information about the various research stations that exist (and are in the process of being built) in Antarctica.  Wired magazine has an article that shows the most fantastic images of some of the stations!  Talk about inspiring students to study science!  The stations look like something from outer space, and they look so interesting!  Check out that article here

And I found a few more links to further whet my appetite:

The British Antarctic Survey has buckets of information for students!  Buckets!  

Classroom Antarctica has great information for slightly older children, grades 5 - 8.  

And as for clothing, imagine what you would have to put on every day, just to protect your skin from the super cold temperatures!  Here is a cute paper doll of an Antarctic explorer from 1914!  There is a PDF file to color and cut out, so children can see what scientists wore before gortex!

So, I would say we're off to a good start!  I hope you are too, and Happy Exploring!

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