Lesson 1: Meet the Penguins
Goal: Read informational text to discover facts about four different kinds of penguins, then observe live penguins and record findings
Materials: Meet the Penguins Student Worksheet 1; Penguin Scorecard Student Worksheet 2
Time required: 40 minutes
1. Discover what students know about penguins. Use the Creature Features facts at the bottom of this lesson to guide a spirited conversation.
2. Explain that students are taking part in the new program Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Everyone will have a chance to shine because the program includes opportunities for reading, math, science, and art.
Discover the facts:
3. Distribute a copy of Student Worksheet 1 to each student and read Puck's letter aloud. Remind (or tell) students that a species is an animal group that has shared features and can breed.
4. Encourage older students to highlight the facts in the letter. With all students, identify and discuss the facts, allowing them to share what they already knew and did not know.
5. Go to www.scholastic.com/antarctica and open the Penguin Cam. Explain that this is a real-time view of what the penguins at SeaWorld are doing right now.
6. Distribute Student Worksheet 2 to each student. Explain that students will take the facts they learned from Student Worksheet 1 to see what characteristics they can observe live and what new things they can learn through careful observation.
7. Read the directions on the Penguin Scorecard and provide 10 minutes for students to complete their observations. (Note: If you do not have online access in your classroom or if time is limited, these observations can be completed as a homework assignment.)
8. Engage students in a conversation on what they thought about while watching. Ask: Which behaviors were more common? What behaviors were not on the scorecard? What did you learn about penguins?
- Younger Students: The Penguin Scorecard provides many facts about four penguin species. If time is limited, you can simply read the information and ask them to find which species is the largest or smallest of the four. Students can create a penguin using craft supplies (click here for instructions).
- Science Extension: Challenge students to research other kinds of penguins and create additional cards based on the ones they have been given.
- Math Extension: Use a ruler and whiteboard to show the four penguin heights on a bar graph. Then challenge students to graph the information about penguin weights.
- Some penguins spend up to 75 percent of their lives in water.
- Their eyes work better underwater than in air.
- Emperor penguins dive deeper than any bird.
- Their wings have evolved into flippers.
- Penguins' ears are hidden under feathers.
- They are carnivores. Each species eats a different assortment of marine animals.
- Penguins live on and around Antarctica. But they also live on the coasts of South Africa, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.
- The colonies farthest north are on the Galapagos Islands. Those penguins sometimes, but not often, reach into the northern hemisphere while hunting.
- Most penguins build nests of pebbles and other materials for their eggs. But king and emperor penguins warm their eggs on the tops of their feet, under a flap of skin called a brood pouch.
- Some penguin chicks' feathers are dark blue, not black.
- The most common misconceptions are that: 1) penguins can fly (they don't); and 2) penguins only live where there is ice (some penguins live in warmer climates like Galapagos penguins that live at the equator).
This program meets education standards including the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and National Science Education Standards. Click below for your grade's curriculum matrix: