Yesterday, December 14th, marked the 109th anniversary of the first expedition reaching the South Pole. No matter where you teach, Antarctica can feel like a world away. Allowing your students to explore Earth’s southernmost continent will make them daydream about going themselves one day! A really great tool is the Kid Discover Online Antarctica Unit. Included are seven different topics to help pique your classroom’s interest. Since there’s so much to learn about the South Pole, we’ve created a cross-curricular guide that will widen your student’s understanding. As our gift to you, here are 6 low-prep classroom activities about Antarctica across several different subjects.
Engage your students’ prior knowledge and get them excited to learn with this Get Set to Read Worksheet. They will make predictions on what they think they know about Antarctica. As they read, they will prove their answer and find out if their guess was correct.
Have students read to find out about the Bancroft-Arnesen expedition across Antarctica in the Dressing for Survival Topic. Then have them imagine that they are part of the expedition traveling across Antarctica on skis. Students should write three or four entries in a diary, describing what they did and saw and how they felt. Encourage students to include drawings with their journal entries. Use this Journal Entry Printable for either a three day or four day response.
The average winter temperature in Antarctica is –74°F. Have students research the average winter temperature in your town and other cities around the world. Then encourage students to do some math problems with Fahrenheit and Celsius. This Fahrenheit to Celsius Worksheet could be used with upper grades or for students who like a good mathematical challenge. It requires subtraction, multiplication, and division skills.
In the mid-1980s, scientists found a “hole” in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Have students find out what the ozone layer is and why it is so important. On this Ozone Research Worksheet, students can record what they learn and what they think can be done to protect it. You can have your students do this independently or in a group activity.
Flags of various nations appear in our Antarctica at a Glance Topic. Have students look at the flags and see how many they recognize. Then have students look up flags of all nations. Each student should choose a different flag to draw and color with magic markers or paint. Display the flags around a world map and attach string between each flag and its country on the map. Have students fill out this Research Station Matching Worksheet or Research Station Table Worksheet to keep track of which ones they can learn.
After your students have read through our Antarctica Unit, they would have learned that there’s so much more to our southernmost continent than ice and snow. Have students draw to show what they would expect to see on an Antarctica expedition on the Antarctica Art Printable. Have them refer to our Antarctica at a Glance Topic for more information on the continent’s wildlife. Afterward, let your students share their “findings” by presenting them to a group or class.