Final Project: My Antarctica
Materials: Cardboard containers of any kind (tissue boxes, ice cream boxes, etc.); colored paper and tissue; coloring tools; paint; clay; string; glue; tape; and scissors
Time: Minimum 40 minutes to assemble, plus research time
Ask students what they now know about Antarctica and penguins. Explain that they will be making dioramas of penguins in Antarctica. They will be doing research to make sure their representations are realistic. For students who are unfamiliar with the term, explain that a diorama is a scene made from art materials.
- Encourage students to discuss what a diorama of penguins in Antarctica needs to show. Start a list of ideas on the board.
- Determine the amount of research time students will be given and where and how the research will be done.
- Determine how the art materials will be gathered and where the students will assemble their science projects.
- Encourage students to research these subjects in books and at safe and reliable online sites.
Making dioramas will allow students to review and lock in what they have learned about penguins and Antarctica. It also gives you another chance to correct misconceptions.
Older students can work in small groups, both in school and as a take-home project. Encourage the groups to focus on one time of year in their scenes. So, for instance, their penguins should not be both migrating and brooding.
Younger students can work in small groups in class. You can encourage cooperation among the youngest students by declaring that each group is a penguin family or colony, and they must help one another.
Younger students should be assigned one penguin species and habitat, and the groups should try to focus on one aspect of penguin life: life as a chick, a juvenile, or an adult in warmer days; life as a chick, a juvenile, or an adult in the coldest days; animals the penguin eats; animals that prey on the penguin. Younger students will also benefit from a check-in, after they have completed their research and before they start the art project.
For older students, provide basic rules for the dioramas. Post them in the classroom if the work is being done in class. If the work is being done at home, encourage students to take notes of the rules.
- Show only one penguin species in a colony.
- Include penguins at all stages of life.
- Show their predators.
- Include their food sources.
Students can be encouraged to use the worksheets from this unit as inspiration for artwork. You may want to demonstrate the way that a small figure can be drawn on thick paper or cardboard and then made to stand, by cutting it out with room for a folded tab.
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: