We spent the whole month of January casually exploring the continent of Antarctic and the Arctic Circle. It was the perfect transition from the holidays back into the full swing of things and our usual daily routine. My Kindy Kid loves Arctic foxes and baby seals, so she really enjoyed this unit. I used a lot of fun manipulatives and more printables than usual, and we watched lots more documentaries (and regular movies and YouTube on the TV) than usual because it also happened to be very cold outside a lot. And, well, we were in hibernation mode. I’ll include a full list of resources at the end of the post. The basis of this unit study is from our main curriculum, Around the World Kindergarten from Build Your Library.
Our assigned read-aloud for this unit was Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. I chose to download the audiobook from Audible to listen to during lunch times to change things up a bit and I’m so glad we did. The kids would color while I made lunch, and then their mouths were full of PBJ and fruit so talking was minimal and listening was maximized. We would usually get through two chapters a meal and be able to discuss what happened after each chapter. I really loved the time we shared with this story; without fail they would ask to keep listening and I’d have to say “you’ll have to wait for tomorrow!”
I chose to focus a lot of our time on penguins and polar bears for this unit. I did try to utilize virtual Antarctic tours and documentaries about the bases there and my kids were just not into it. So, we went back to animal study because that truly is where their hearts lie. We began with penguins: learning the life cycle, completing an animal profile page, utilizing penguin counting mats with penguin erasers, a penguin Can/Have/Are (CHA) chart, and watched lots of shows about penguins.
Then we moved on to polar bears. We read Ice Bear by Nicola Davies and Knut by Craig Hatkoff, learned about endangered animals, did an animal report and a CHA chart. Surprise! We also watched some videos about polar bear cubs. I found some really fun Arctic animal graphing sheets KindyKid loved. We wrapped up animal studies by completing a polar bear vs. penguin comparison report (building up to Venn diagrams- my fave!) and making polar bear and penguin puppets.
To round out this wintery, cold unit study, we did some mini-units on seasons, hibernation, and citizenship, did a lot of art (snow painting!) and played a lot of games. Despite the casual atmosphere, we continued to do our daily reading curricula.
- Continents of the World, episode 2: Antarctica
- Pingu (Amazon Prime)
- Wild Kratts
- S1E7: Polar Bears and Walrus
- S4E13: Narwals
- S4E22: Arctic Wolf
- S4E24: Muskox
- S5E1: Penguins
- Resource Collection (I utilize her amazing lists for every continent study!)
- Happy Feet
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins (VERY dissimilar to the actual story, heads up!)
- March of the Penguins
- Planet Earth: Ice Worlds
- Knut & Friends