Candice Baglio, our fantastic graduate student intern, has developed a fun new unit for our children to study over the next few weeks, Arctic Animals and Habitats.
This week will have a daily focus on a different arctic animal. So far we have studied polar bears and arctic hares. Each center is designed to expand on what we have learned about animals in cold climates.
Our sensory table is filled with icy water so the children can feel the chill with their hands. How do polar bears and seals survive the cold temperatures? They have a thick, greasy layer of fat under their skin to keep their cores warm. To simulate that for the students we made “blubber gloves” by using two Ziplock bags, one filled with shortening and the other as a clean liner. We sealed the two bags together (to avoid a big mess!) and allowed the children to explore the icy water with their new layer of warmth. They were able to feel the difference in temperature.
We turned two tents in to “igloos” by draping them with painted fabric. The kids have had a fantastic time lounging by the “fire” and sharing camping stories.
We have encouraged the kids to build habitats for their arctic animals in the block center. We’ve added miniature arctic animals and pieces of light blue felt. Some kids have pretended to build the animals houses while others imagined the animals on ice bergs.
We have an easel set up in each classroom with photographs of the animals to inspire the children to paint in the animals’ likeness. The kids have also had the opportunity to create polar bear masks and arctic hare hats in our art center.
We created (not quite) life sized drawings of each of our animals for the wall outside our classrooms. We will measure the children next to each animal and discuss the differences in size between each animal as well as how they differ from us.
Stay tuned for more on this unit!