Continent Studies: Antarctica – Where in the World?

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Main Learning Goals

  • To be able to point out north and south on a globe
  • To point to all continents and the Arctic circle
  • To understand why the Arctic is not a continent whilst the Antarctica is
  • To understand why it is cold at the top and bottom of the globe
  • To realise Antarctica is a dessert and give the main reason why
  • To understand the three states of H2O and how they occur in terms of our weather

Google Earth Images

The first thing we did was to go on google earth.  This is such a fun tool to use, especially with the younger children.  It is a means by which they can look at Antarctica in relation to the rest of the world.  Although globes work they don’t have quite the maneuverability of Google earth, especially for the poles.  We were also able to see that the colder areas of the earth were furthest away from the equator and were to some extent covered in snow and the very hot areas were near the equator and tended to be sandy desert, with the greener area in between:

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It was very interesting to see the Arctic compared with the Antarctic, with the Antarctic being a vast land mass under miles of snow and the Arctic circle consisting of many different countries:

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It illustrated nicely why Antarctica is a continent and the Arctic isn’t.

We were also able to get a closer look at some of the sights found in Antarctica such as penguins, ice bergs and Antarctica active volcano:

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And we were very easily able to show the younger children the north and south hemispheres.  We also found the UK on the earth and realised our close(ish) proximity to the Arctic circle might have something to with our low (ish) temperatures!

Antarctica as One of the Seven Continents

Next T13 got out his huge map of the world and we all poured over it, showing A6 and B3 where all the continents are focusing on the Antartica.  This map was also helpful in showing the Antarctica as a land mass and the the Arctic as an area containing the tips of many countries:

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Have you ever played Twister?  We have a Twister type game, which instead of having a selection of different coloured dots to place hands and feet on and get all twisted up it contains a very simple map of the world:

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A wheel is spun and the children must follow the directions to which the arrow points.  It is huge fun and fabulous for reinforcing the positions of all the continents.  As it doesn’t contain Antarctica we added it in ourselves by pretending there was a north pole at the top of the map and a south pole at the bottom.  Much hilarity was had:

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The older three girls played Atlas Adventures, which can be played at varying difficulties.  The goal is to spin the spinner, answer a question about the continent and build up the world using continent puzzle pieces.  This is a great way for A6 to again reinforce where the continents are in the world:

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I also had them look at a paper map of the world.  The older ones needed to label them whilst A6 needed to tell me what each of the continents were called and their vague position in the world.  B3 just needed to point to the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Hands on Map Fun

We also own a large, thick foam map of the world.  The little two worked together many times throughout the week to build it.  The prize for keeping at it and not giving up was a can of shaving foam each:

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Once the puzzle had been completed they used the foam to show where the north pole is (Arctic) and the South Pole is (Antarctic):

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Once they had done this I brought in some penguins, seals and polar bears.  We had been watching the dvds which had shown polar bears in the north and penguins in the south along with seals.  I asked them to place the animals in their usual habitat:

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And then they had lots of play time.  This was particularly good activity for B3:

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I’m thinking all five children will now be familiar with the geography of Antarctica!

15 comments

  1. Aren’t you such a fun mom – having the kids play with shaving foam! It’s wonderful how many maps and map related games you have – that twister one is something I’m going to look for around here!

    1. The twister is so much fun! Especially when I am taking photos of my son which makes him inwardly cringe!! I don’t post them online of course, but I certainly threaten to…

  2. I like all the active and hands on activities – like the twister, and the foam – great ways to cement the learning!

  3. That does look like fun! What is the map/twister game called? I would love to find one for us! Thanks so much and keep up the GREAT work!

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