For each continent, we have a Montessori continent box full of small cultural objects, money, photos, and pamphlets from the continent. When we were beginning this unit, I asked my Instagram followers from all over the world if they would be interested in sending us things — and so many said yes! That is where the majority of our cultural items are from, but you can also purchase the contents for your Montessori continent box if you don’t have those personal connections — check here and here. Obviously none of my followers live on Antarctica, but my friend from Diamond Montessori sent us some beautiful collectors’ stamps featuring the continent. We also printed some images of Antarctica that came up in a Google image search since our box was rather sparse.
We began as we usually do with a study of the different animals that live on the continent and its surrounding waters. We used the animal cards from Every Star is Different‘s Antarctica Unit to look at the wide variety of animal life there, and then focused in on penguins — one of the girls’ favorites.
We used Welcome to Mommyhood‘s Types of Penguins 3-Part Cards [a free printable for subscribers] to distinguish between the different types of penguins — by the end of our study, L was able to correctly identify the different types of penguins in the movie Happy Feet all by herself [I actually had to look it up to see if she was right!].
We also looked more closely at some of the unusual physical features to be found in Antarctica using Trillium Montessori‘s 3-Part Cards. It was interesting to see some features that can’t be found anywhere else in the world!
We also looked at the wide variety of transportation types used to travel on the ice and snow in Antarctica by the researchers studying there — these matching cards were also part of that printable pack from Every Star is Different.
The girls seemed to think that they would just have to put on their winter coats if they wanted to visit Antarctica, so I found this awesome printable dress-up researcher to show them just how many layers they would need to put on to stay warm!
We also used Antarctica to talk about global warming and climate change — melting ice was a great visual!
I scoured our local library as well as our personal book collection, and these are the books I chose for our Antarctica study. Please keep in mind that my choices were limited to the books available at our little library, so I couldn’t possibly include everything — but I do recommend all of these ones:
Destination: Antarctica, by Robert Swan
Antarctica, by Wil Mara
Antarctica, by Helen Cowcher
Summer Ice: Life Along the Antarctic Peninsula, by Bruce McMillan
Discover More: Penguins, by Penelope Arlon
March of the Penguins, by Luc Jacquet, Jerome Maison
Where is Home, Little Pip?, by Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman
Earth in Danger: Climate Change, by Helen Orme