Continent Study: Antarctica verses the Arctic

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Most of our information had come from reading ‘Polar Explorers for kids’ out loud.  This book is divided into Arctic and Antarctic explorers and contains so much more information on topics other than just explorers:

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The other two books are fun additions which I read through a few times.  We LOVE Dr Seuss in this house, so we giggled our way through that one fairly painlessly!

I also gave them a couple of information sheets as well as a Venn diagram activity Kris showcased on her blog pertaining to the differences between the Antarctic and the Arctic, including a free printable:

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All these resources gave the children a good basic knowledge about the differences between the two poles.  Next I asked the girls to choose one or the other and make a diorama based on what they had learnt.  I provided them with boxes, coloured paper, print outs, polystyrene casing, white fluff and cotton wool balls.  And boy did they make a mess!

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I was quite pleased by what they came up with.  C12 chose Antarctica.  She covered the whole area with white to show the relentlessness of the snow, ice-bergs, penguins and her scene at the back contained Antarctica’s smoking volcano, showing that Antarctica is a land mass underneath all that ice:

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L12 chose the Arctic to portray.  She, like wise, smothered hers in ice using the polystyrene blocks.  She cut out ice-bergs as well as piling slabs of polystyrene together to make flat ice-bergs:

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She built an igloo and dressed a Play Mobil man like an Inuit.  The large body of water held a seal and scattered around the whole diorama was a family of polar bears:

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Lastly I asked them to write an essay, supposedly under exam conditions but we had a friend here and A6 was unable to stop herself from talking, so it wasn’t quite the silence I had hoped for.  They had fully prepared for the essay using another Venn diagram.  I asked them to jot down a couple of similarities in the intersection and explained that this would make up their introductory paragraph.  I then asked them to choose three differences, one for each of the three middle paragraphs, giving examples/ or extra information to back up what they had chosen.  Once filled in they were ready to write the essay later on that afternoon:

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I was quite pleased with their final essays.  They included everything I had asked for and were fairly well written.  The purpose of these quick essays isn’t a polished finish, rather it is an opportunity for them to learn to plan using their knowledge on a subject and to write under pressure, using that plan, to produce a good piece of work.  I am trying to teach them that a quick five paragraph essay is a simple thing to write.  I have looked at various exams and the markers comments about what they are looking for in the answers.  Over the next year or so I intend to slowly teach them what I have learnt as well as examination technique.

This had been a quick, but ultimately satisfying foray into the differences between the two polar regions.

All Things Beautiful

14 comments

  1. What a lovely study. I love the 21 activity books. I did not know they had come out with a polar explorer’s one. I love ven diagrams too.
    Of course you can copy the list of books on my blog.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. I can just imagine little tiny broken off pieces of the polystyrene everywhere!! Love the Venn diagrams and dioramas!

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