Saturday, January 5, 2013

Polar Animals

We started the week with a list of things we know about polar animals.  Students have a pretty good foundation on what they know about polar animals, I was surprised!  They also came up with 2 REALLY good questions!

polar.ppt  We watched the power point (at left) provided by 2TeachingMommies.  We talked about what the polar lands look like (color, most likely feel like being snow and ice, etc).  We then talked about the adaptations fo the animals to be camouflaged.   

The concept of camouflage is not foreign to these students as we are in a big deer hunting area.  We talked about when they are not wearing orange they were camo to look like the woods, that is what the animals do, except their fur already does that!

We also watched this penguin video.  It was very interesting and they really enjoyed it!

For an art project, we made ripped paper penguins.  The template is the fat penguin from

This project included using their fine motor skills to rip, pinch, and place on their paper as well as painting in the lines of the template with their glue paint brushes.  Students had to follow mulit-step directions and use their listening skills.  Also, they had to do some counting when I have them 1 piece of yellow and told them it had to make 2 feet and 1 beak. They had to figure out how many pieces to rip from there.  Students did great with them and they turned out even cuter than I had imagined!

Construction continues on the igloo.  Please keep the milk jugs coming!  Students help by holding the jugs together while they dry and then help bring them to the wall to put on.  We are four rows up and will begin the doming of the igloo next!  We are currently waiting on more jumbo hot glue sticks to be purchased to complete the project.  If any parents would be willing to donate the jumbo (fat) high heat glue sticks please let me know.  Thank you! (There is an image on the class website on the wish list page -see link above-of the type of glue sticks as well)

Herbie left us a note saying good bye and how happy he was to be visiting us.  He complimented the children on doing their best to be good little boys and girls.
To start this week of polar animals, we made some fluffy polar bears.  Mix shaving cream and glue 50/50 and you will get shaving cream that dries fluffy!  Students then painted/dabbed the fur on with a paint brush.  The kids loved it and they love that they get to pet their bears.  We worked on our fine motor skills and worked with a new materials.  
image from 
As we are building our igloo we have also been saving our milk caps.  Our friend started sorting the caps by color!

The next day (in a completely different class) This little friend sorted the caps by color and stacked the dinosaurs on top of the caps!

Earlier in the week we had done a sorting small, middle, big  sheet.  In play time, I observed the students making small, middle, big  towers with dinosaurs on top.

I created a little work sheet that worked on scientific thinking.  I will try to to get the sheet on TPT, but I will first have to find images that are appropriate.

The "blubber" is vegetable oil in a ziplock back.  I got actual snow from our playground area. I showed the students that the entire bucket was full of snow and then put the blubber over the top.  

First the students guessed (hypothesized) what they thought would happen when the touched snow with a blubber hand and a plain hand.

The students then tried the experiment out for themselves (experimented).

They then recorded their results (observations) on their sheet.

After doing the experiment we discussed the scientific methods as well as what the results mean for polar animals.  Polar animals have fat and/or blubber to keep warm.  The blubber kept their hands warm just like it keeps the animals warm walking on the snow.  We also discussed how we cannot walk on the snow barefoot because we do not have the fur or the blubber that the polar animals do.

We also practiced walking like a walrus. We had fun,  did some weight bearing exercise, and learned about walrus all at the same time!

We started this week by making a walrus.  I found this Pin on Pinterest.  The woman states that she is unable to give step by step directions due to copyright, so I assume I cannot as well. I have made mine closer to her modification than the very original did so here is a brief overview.  Students cut their small paper plate (it is a thicker material so more difficult to cut), painted a large paper plate, a small paper plate, and the two halves of the small paper plates.   Painting was using our fine motor skills, but also endurance in using this skill as there was so much to paint.  Students then had to follow directions and put two eyes on and two tusks on in the proper location on the head.

We also wrapped up our polar animal unit with making a snow globe.  Found this item on TPT.  I modified it to be more preschool appropriate, but I loved doing it with these kids and they were SOOOO proud of themselves!  

Students cut out the animals and their globes using their fine motor skills--cutting on straight and curved lines.  Students then opened up a ziplock bag and put their animal pieces in--using their fine motor skills and pinching (Animals found on Kids-Pages Website, printed as flashcards in medium size but 9 pages to a page printing).  
They then scooped 2 scoops of hole punched snow  and added 10 shakes of the snow glitter.  

I cut the middle out of paper plates and then stapled: their globe template, their baggies and the paper plate together. I did one staple on stop and one on bottom, leaving the sides room to "bulge" a little as well as little "handles" for them to hold and shake.  

I filled the bags with air to make them more globe like.  If the bag doesn't fit in the middle of the plate (coming through sides), I let some air out.

Once their globes were assembled, students wrote the the sounds they hear when they say "polar" and "animals" writing the P and the A.
Final Product!
Progress continues on the igloo, it is almost done!  We have domed the ceiling and just waiting to close the skylight!  We do have to work on treating the igloo and classroom materials with love.  One of the sides broke out with only 2 days of play!  I will repair the igloo, but hope students will be able to play in the igloo nicely in the next couple of weeks so we can enjoy it.  It is fun to hear the little polar bears, penguins, and families living in the cold in there!
One of our morning work projects was a penguin measuring project I found on Freebie-licious --> which links to to this site: (scroll down).  This project was AWESOME for my students.  I scattered the penguins to be measured around the room, gave them each their own rulers and a data collecting sheets.  When students needed help with the numbers to be written, I could refer them to their own ruler.  This helped in their number recognition, one to one correspondence  counting, and the concept of measuring.

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