Penguin Centers

Elementary students have a burning curiosity about the world, especially the amazingly cute penguins of Antarctica. To help students explore these flightless birds and their habitat, I prepared five centers that invited students to utilize resources in diverse formats.

Center 1: Computer
I created a PBS LearningMedia Lesson that prompted students to watch a Sesame Street video clip featuring penguins and where they live. After the video, students experienced penguins’ habitat by playing a game where they sled down and up icy slopes.

Center 2: Build a Habitat
To begin, students investigated Antarctica’s landforms and wildlife by reading, Antarctica by Rebecca Hirsch. Next, students used wooden blocks to create a model of Antarctica. Students made icebergs surrounded by ocean, they erected tall mountains, and they constructed large ice shelves.

Center 3: Audio Book
Picture books are an entertaining way to engage students in new content. At this center students read, One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo. In this story, Elliot visits an aquarium and discovers his dream pet: a penguin. So he decides to sneak one home in his backpack. Once home, Elliot and his new penguin pal dine on frozen anchovy pizzas, share Goldfish crackers, and skate on a mini ice rink in his room (created with a wading pool and hose)—all the while his father is blithely engaged with his atlas, maps, and charts and appears not to notice the goings-on. The misunderstandings between father and son are quite humorous.

Center 4: eBooks
Students explored penguins with two nonfiction titles, two picture eBooks, and a short video using the program, Epic! The Epic! app is the leading all-you-can-read eBook library for kids 12 and under offering unlimited access to over 10,000 high-quality children’s books. Best of all, Epic! is 100% free for elementary school teachers and librarians in the U.S. and Canada.

Center 5: Penguin Art
At this center, students selected the penguin design they wanted to create. Students watched a how-to video from Epic!, pausing along the way to complete the steps demonstrated by the artist.  The results were magnificent!
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