Antarctica

4/06/2009


The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fullness thereof, thou hast founded them. The north and south thou hast created them. Psalm 89:11-12.
We have been at the bottom of the world in a remote region known as the Antarctic! Here is what we have been doing.

We:
  • Studied the location, size, climate and landforms of Antarctica
  • Looked at Antarctica on a map and compared it to what it looks like on a globe
  • Made a physical map of Antarctica 
  • Labeled the physical features, the south pole, seas, ice shelves, mountains, glaciers, islands and peninsulas of Antarctica
  • Completed a table listing the mountains in order by height and graphed the mountains to compare the five tallest mountains
  • Used an atlas to locate and label the Weddell Sea, Amundsen Sea, Ross Sea, Ross Ice Shelf, Filchner ice Shelf, Ronne Ice Shelf, Bellingshausen Sea, Riiser-Larson Ice Shelf and the Amery Ice Shelf
  • Learned that coastal regions have been named after explorers, rulers and other individuals and found the lands and islands of Coats Land, Ellsworth Land, Mac-Robertson Land, Marie-Byrd Land, Palmer Land, Queen Maud Land, Victoria Land and Wilkes Land on a map
  • Graphed the average yearly precipitation and average winter and summer temperatures
  • Learned that Antarctica is the coldest and windiest place on earth. 
  • Learned about the animals of Antarctica: adelie penguin, arctic tern, blue whale, cape pigeon, elephant seal, emperor penguin, fulmar, humpback whale, leopard seal, orca, petrel, Ross seal, skua, sperm whale, krill and the Rockhopper penguin
  • Learned about plant life in Antarcitca: lichen, algae, moss and phytoplankton
  • Learned what a glacier is
  • Did a lapbook on Antarctica
  • Did some Antarctic spelling activities
  • Watched the March of the Penguins on DVD
  • Learned about historic explorers to Antarctica
  • Listened to Caroline Alexander's The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition on CD
  • Watched the The Endurance, a documentary, on DVD
  • Did some hands on activities to enhance our study of the explorers to Antarctica
How Much Water?





Antarctica hold 2/3 of the world's fresh water frozen in its ice-caps.  Explorers, such as Shackleton knew how important the moisture content of snow can be, and how much that can vary. They got their water my melting ice and snow.  So we did an activity to see how much water is in snow.  We put powdery snow in one jar, sticky compacted snow in the second jar and slushy snow in the third jar.  The boys had to guess which jar would produce the most water. We learned that powdery snow has very little moisture and a lot has to be melted to in order to make a little bit of drinking water and that slushy snow has the most water, but is not the cleanest!

Homemade Barometer



Some chewing gum (the highlight of this activity), a glass jar, a straw, and a ruler made a homemade barometer to measure air pressure. Polar explorers used barometers to find out when storms were approaching. Our barometer is a form of the earliest barometers called "storm glasses" and uses water to measure air pressure.  When the water level in the straw lowers, the barometric pressure falls. A steady fall is a sign that bad weather is on its way. When the water level in the straw rises steadily, this indicates that the barometric is steadily rising, indicating that the wather isn't changing very much.  When the water level does not change, it means that the weather is clear and will stay clear.  So we have been checking it daily. We noticed that it lowered slightly before a big snowstorm hit our area and then has slightly increased since then.  The difference is slight - we were expecting more drastic changes.   I think would need a more senstive barometer to see those results! A high barometric pressure in the US is 30.50 and a low pressure is 29.50, while an average pressure is 29.90.  
  • Watched the Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights on You Tube and read about what produces the beautiful show of lights
  • Made an edible sugar cookie dough map of Antarctica

The boys had an idea to trace a map onto parchment paper and then use that to shape their continent. Jordan photocopied the map and taped it underneath the parchment paper.  Then we baked them and frosted them.


They used white chocolate chips for the Transantarctic Mountains and a chocolate chip for the South Pole.

Our lapbook on Antarctica:

 


Here are some of the materials we used for our exploration:



Delightful Links:

P is for Penguin ~ Antarctic learning fun with the little ones.
Homeschool Share - Polar Animals Lapbook
Our Homeschool Creations - Antarctica Lots of delightful links and ideas here.

When we first started our study almost a month ago, signs of spring were everywhere and we even had some nice weather in the upper 60's.  Then, we had several consecutive Spring snow storms in a row during our study of Antarctica.  It was a blessing! The boys have had fun building their own ice forts and playing in the snow, we had snow for an activity and just having the snow and cold around us made us feel like we were there! :-)

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? Job 38:22-23

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Awesome post! So many great things! I'll be linking back to you in an upcoming post about our Antarctica continent bag. :)

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