Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Around the World! First Stop...Antarctica

We are traveling around the world for the rest of the school year! Each month we will focus on a different continent and study the geography, culture, and animal life. We our beginning our trip in Antarctica!

This is our 'Sensory Suitcase". It is packed full of books and activities related to Antarctica. 

For Kai and Elle's anchor subject activities we will be using the wonderful, "Around the World" units offered by Very Busy Teachers at Teachers Pay Teachers. They have all the continents except Antarctica and offer the same packets for K-2 and 3-5. I just love this because Aiden can do the 'same' thing as his big sister, but at his level:)

Aiden loved playing this 'Snowy Shake Up" game we found at the wonderful Walking by the Way blog. I wrote numbers in each of the egg holders and then placed two snowballs (white pom-poms) in the carton. Each player took turns shaking it up and then adding up the numbers the snowballs landed on. They then counted out that many 'snowballs' and placed then in their pile. At the end of the game the player with the most 'snowballs' won.

We made snow paint (equal parts glue and shaving cream) and painted snowmen and all sorts of other snowy things. This paint dries really puffy and feels so soft! The children loved it.

Elle is loving cooking these days and made us some yummy penguins using rice, seaweed wraps and carrots.

Each of the children made a salt dough map (1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, and 1/2 cup water) of Antarctica and labeled some of the most important places. Did you know Antarctica has a mountain range? Me neither! We learned a lot doing this and will be creating one for each continent we 'visit'.

Why do animals in Antarctic have blubber? During our science co-op the children held an ice cube in a bare hand and in one insulated with Crisco shortening  (blubber) so they could see for themselves how the blubber worked. Of course the older boys tried to see who could hold the ice in their bare hand the longest and pretend it wasn't cold:)

Looks like regular Ivory soap right? Put it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes and puffs up like crazy. This only works with Ivory soap because it has air pockets. The children had so much fun playing with the fake 'snow'. It was dry and not sticky at all!

Elle wrote down the heights (in inches) of the many penguins that live in or around the Antarctic using a National Geographic animal book. The children then worked together and used Aiden's math cubes to 'build' each penguin. Once they finished he ordered them from smallest to largest.


Okay, so the Antarctic is a desert and really doesn't get that much snow, but we made these cute little snowmen as one of our Antarctic crafts. (Aiden insisted his was a monster snowman and gave it three eyes.) You can find the tutorial at the Art is Basic blog. Very simple to sewing!

We made lots of snowflakes and painted them with sparkly paint.

I used our silicone mini-bread molds to make huge ice cubes over the course of a week. I filled up the cooler and took them to the beach so the children and their friends could build an igloo in some                       Florida snow (sand).

I picked up some styrofoam balls at the dollar store and wrote the vowels on them. Aiden and his Elle (who is wonderful about playing his games with him) had to say something that started with the letter on the snow ball and then throw it in the basket. Simple, but fun.

Why are we making a volcano? Because there are 5 volcanoes (some are active) on Antarctica.                   I had no idea.

There are forty research bases on Antarctica. During our science co-op the children made a flag for each of the countries that has a research base there. Wikipedia has a list of all of them along with a picture of their flags.

The children had an Emperor Penguin race. They tried to get from one side of the yard to the other holding a penguin egg (styrofoam ball) between their feet. Very funny to watch.

We compared and contrasted Antarctica and the Arctic.

Finally, we learned all about the explorer Ernest Shakleton. We inherited this wonderful boat made by my great-uncle and Aiden has been using it to explore Antarctica using Woody as  Shakleton.