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To the Bottom of the Earth: Antarctica for Kids ::Week 1::

When I initially set out our yearly plan, I “budgeted” time for the various countries and continents that we were going to be studying, Antarctica included. I figured that we could get everything done for the North and the South Pole in 2 weeks.

Because, really. It’s just a snowy landmass, right?

We started studying Antarctica this last week and it’s looking like this could be a much longer study that I originally thought. The girls (and I) are learning so much…and having a lot of fun with it in the process, so we are only going to study Antarctica for now and then do a unit study/lapbook on penguins.

We found a GREAT video clip showing a penguin being chased by a pod of orcas. The video clip is below. It’s about 5 minutes long but really rather funny.

I found a copy of Antarctica by Evan Moor at a book sale and it has been a huge help in our studies. The more I dig and search on the internet, I also find some other great sites, which I’ll share a little later. Here’s a look at our week (just the geography/Antarctica related things):


  • Locate Antarctica on our map and globe
  • Use Children’s World Atlas to learn more about the geography features and other information about Antarctica
  • Talk about the meaning of the name Antarctica (opposite of the Arctic)
  • Looked at the differences between a flat map and a globe and how that changes the look of a continent (especially Antarctica)
  • Talked about the differences between the hemispheres (North/South and East/West) – which hemispheres is Antarctica in?
  • Tuesday

  • Talked about the climate/weather on Antarctica
  • Looked a little more at the geography of Antarctica and what is under all that ice
  • Talked about the oceans that surround Antarctica
  • Wednesday

  • Touched a little bit on the first explorers to Antarctica: Scott and Amundsen (we will be doing more study on them next week)
  • Found some sites online that show some of the research centers in Antarctica
  • Started our “internet field trip” to explore and learn more
  • Thursday

  • Talked about krill and why there is an abundance of it at the South Pole
  • Drew a picture of krill and journaled a little about krill
  • Looked at the Antarctic Peninsula and the climate changes throughout the year
  • Here are some of the websites that we used this week:

  • Cool Antarctica – this site has the most amazing pictures, facts, history. A very comprehensive site
  • Tramline – an internet field trip that has teaching resources and one we’ve had fun using. There are some dead links as you click through the links, so you just need to go on to the next link.
  • Antarctica! – A collection of material that was originally started as part of a university field-trip course, but has been updated recently. Also has some video and picture links.
  • Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears – an online K-5 magazine for teachers. They have a unit designed specifically for Mapping the Polar Regions, comparing the North and South Poles.
  • Ducksters – Map of Antarctica and other Antarctica facts
  • Popular Mechanics – a look at the Amundsen-Scott Research Center
  • And a few of the books that we used in our studies:

    Next week we will be studying more about the animals and plants in the Antarctic and also look more at the expeditions to the South Pole in the early 1900’s.