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Topic(s):

Biosphere, Cryosphere, Elementary (K-4)

 

Scenario:

Earth's Polar Places

The Arctic and Antarctic are cold, polar places.
With air, land, living things and water, too.
On a globe, two circles outline their spaces.

Antarctica is a continent. The Arctic, it is not.
North and South poles are magnetic.
On a globe each pole is just a dot.

Earth's poles have polar ice caps.
No, not some kind of polar hats.
If you look you can see them on polar maps.

Now take your time.
And read this rhyme.
About Earth's polar living things.

Polar Living Things

Polar animals are sometimes fat.
They need it to live in that cold habitat.
In the air or sea and on the land,
Just how much cold can they stand?

Polar plants, they have no fat.
There are lichens, mosses. Stuff like that.
In the Arctic, just shrubs,no trees.
Flowers bloom there, but are there bees?

Arctic and Antarctic, people can live there too.
Native peoples of the North, some in igloos.
In the Antarctic, now that is tougher.
Scientists working there, do they suffer?

But way up or way down there, at the poles
Places where almost nobody goes and not much grows.
You need a microscope to see the some life.
What tiny things live in or under all that ice?

In polar oceans some whales get their fill
Eating tiny animals swimming by called krill.
Whales swim North and whales swim South.
How do they catch krill with such big mouths?

There are caribou, foxes and Arctic rabbits.
Seals and birds, each with their own eating habits.
Whales and fish and bugs, oh brother.
Which ones eat plants and which ones, each other?

On land, on ice, in water and air.
Polar things are found living there.
But a polar bear, a penguin, on TV sharing a Coke?
What is that? Some kind of bad science joke?

A Polar Problem?

Polar ice is changing fast.
Some wonder if it will it last.

Antarctic ice sheets break.
Floating icebergs the pieces make.

In the Arctic sea ice floes.
Melt in summer, in winter grow.

A story is in the song a whale sings.
How will changing polar ice change polar living things?


Polar Living Things Essential Questions:
  • How are Arctic living things like Antarctic living things? How are they different?
  • How are polar living things like living things in your neighborhood? How are they different?
  • How are polar living things connected to polar ice?
  • How would changes in the amount of polar ice change polar livings things?

With the support of NASA and in recognition and celebration of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008, this and other ESSEA modules focusing on polar topics have been created in hopes of increasing the awareness, understanding and interest of school-age children in polar conditions and research.

To view a NASA video about IPY click here.

 

Date: 5/29/2009

Scenario Images:

Caption
Polar Living Things:
More Than Polar Bears and Penguins



Lichens
Lichens look like plants, but they're not. Lichens grow on rocks in the Arctic and Antarctic. Read this e-book to learn more about lichens. Click the Play button to have the book read to you. Image: clipart.com



Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton are microscopic plant-like living things that live in the polar and other oceans. Like land plants, phytoplankton need sunlight, water, and food to grow. They don't eat animals or other plants, but krill, small fish and even some whales eat them. Go here to learn more about how these tiny plants help feed whales. Use the Play button to have the book read to you.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Science Learn



Krill
Krill is one of the best known polar species of zooplankton and are the food source for a wide range of aquatic animals. Krill eat phytoplankton. So what eats krill? Some fish eat krill and some penguins, too. Even some big whales eat these little creatures. Antarctic krill are about the size of a paperclip. Krill quick facts sheet. Image: clipart.com



Narwhals
Are these sea creatures real or make-believe? Learn more about narwhals, the unicorns of the sea. Image: clipart.com



Resources:

 

Comparing Earth's Poles (Cycle A)
The following resources provide comparison information and more about Earth's polar regions.


Here are some sites to find some printables for your polar book, mobile and/or diorama.

 

Earth Science Basics (Cycle A)
Need information about Earth's cycles, systems and processes? These resources are for you:

  • Visit an Earth Science Museum. Use the elevator to explore the different floors and learn about Earth's systems, cycles, dinosaurs and more. For kids and teachers.
  • K-4 Earth Science Modules. Four online modules for K-4 students and teachers that include information, games and hands-on investigations exploring biomes, weather and climate, remote sensing and Earth's systems.

 

Just About Polar Living Things (Cycle B)
Use these resources to learn more about polar livings.


 

Antarctica's Climate Secrets (Cycle C)
Complete curriculum with all the tools you'll need.

 

Beyond Polar Bears and Penguins (Cycle C)
An online magazine integrating science, literacy, and the polar regions. A goldmine for K-5 teachers. Full of activities, resources, information and classroom strategies. This issue of Beyond Polar Bears and Penguins online magazine explores Tundra: Life in the Polar Extremes. Includes misconceptions, activities, recommended books and more. Additional archived issues are available here.

 

Digital Library for Earth System Science (Cycle C)
The ultimate resource for Earth Science lesson plans, investigations and publications.

 

K-3 Teachers' Guide to Arctic Animals (Cycle C)
Complete curriculum with investigations for K-3 from Sea World.

 

NASA International Polar Year for Educators (Cycle C)
One-stop site for useful classroom materials. Find videos, images, reading materials, curriculum-based lesson plans, posters, and more, all through our easy-to-use, searchable NASA Polar Express database. All of these items are free to download to support your teaching activities.

 

Understanding Science (Cycle C)
The mission of Understanding Science is to provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works. Check out the Teaching Resources page for grade level appropriate ideas and information.

 

Sample Investigations:

 

Arctic and Antarctic Living Things: Are they the same or are they different? (Cycle A)
What do you know about polar living things? Want to learn more?

Read these e-books to learn about our polar regions. Use the Play button to have them read to you. Pay close attention to parts that talk about polar living things. In the Arctic and Antarctic things live on the land and ice, fly in the air and swim in the sea.

Want to try a harder one?
Dinos in the Dark
Use what you've learned from the e-books and what you can find out to complete one of the following Cycle A investigations.
For Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Make a Polar Living Things Book (Cycle A)
Use what you know and what you can find out to make a book about polar living things.
Make a Polar Living Things Book for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Make a Polar Living Things Mobile (Cycle A)
Use what you know and what you can find out to make a mobile about polar living things.
Make a Polar Living Things Mobile for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Polar Living Things in a Shoebox (Cycle A)
Use what you know and what you can find out about polar living things to make a diorama.
Polar Air in Shoebox for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Polar Living Things Venn Diagram (Cycle A)
Use a Venn diagram to explore how the Arctic and Antarctic living things are the same and how they are different.
Venn Diagram for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Want to Connect Polar Ice to Polar Living Things? Investigations Extension (Cycle A)
Now that you've completed your polar living things mobile, diorama, book or Venn diagram, see how many ways you can connect polar ice to polar living things.
Polar Land and Polar Ice Extenstion for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

What if? Polar Ice and Polar Living Things Investigation Extension (Cycle A)
Polar ice is disappearing in some polar places. Think about all of the ways you connected polar land to polar ice in the Polar Ice and Polar Living Things Investigations Extension and explore "What would it be like if?"
What if? Extension for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Learn About Polar Living Things (Cycle B)
Work with your team to find answers to your questions and these Essential Questions about Earth's polar living things:

  • How are Arctic living things like Antarctic living things? How are they different?
  • How are polar living things like living things in your neighborhood? How are they different?
  • How are polar living things connected to polar ice?
  • How would changes in the amount of polar ice change polar livings things?

Difficulty: beginner

 

Design a Polar Living Things Investigation (Cycle C)
Use what you've learned to design an investigation that allows students to explore questions of their own and these Essential Questions about Earth's polar living things:

  • How are Arctic living things like Antarctic living things? How are they different?
  • How are polar living things like living things in your neighborhood? How are they different?
  • How are polar living things connected to polar ice?
  • How would changes in the amount of polar ice change polar livings things?

Difficulty: beginner

 

 

Standards:

  • Science
    National Science Education Standards - Science Content Standards http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/html/overview.html#content The science content standards outline what students should know, understand, and be able to do in the natural sciences over the course of K-12 education.
    • K-12 UNIFYING CONCEPTS AND PROCESSES
      The understandings and abilities associated with the following concepts and processes need to be developed throughout a student's educational experiences:
      • Systems, order, and organization
      • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • Constancy, change, and measurement
      • Evolution and equilibrium
      • Form and function
    • GRADES K-4 CONTENT STANDARDS
      • Science as Inquiry (Std A)
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • Life Science (Std C)
        • The characteristics of organisms
        • Life cycles of organisms
        • Organisms and environments
      • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives (Std F)
        • Personal health
        • Changes in environments
      • History and Nature of Science (Std G)
        • Science as a human endeavor
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