Investigating Penguin Populations of Antarctica
This investigation allows students to explore the geography of Antarctica and become an active member of the citizen science project, PenguinWatch.
- Examine maps of the World, South Polar Regions and Antarctica and interpret geographic location influence on climates
- Develop map skills by learning how to use longitude and latitude coordinates to locate 6 research stations in Antarctica
- Evaluate interactions between penguins and their ecosystems
- Become citizen scientist through engagement in the Penguin Watch project
- Practice skills of the scientific method
- Formulate a hypothesis based on student research of penguin life cycles and/or Antarctica’s climate
- Gather data through the analysis of photographs shared by the Penguin Watch science team
- Analyze collected data to construct a conclusion that supports or refutes their hypothesis
- Communicate the results of their scientific investigation to their peers summarizing the results of their investigation and creating a visual representation of the key concepts about the influence of Antarctica’s geography on penguin populations
- Distribute Antarctica pre-assessment worksheet.
- Students read the Antarctica encyclopedia on National Geographic taking notes on climate attributes.
- Group share: Each students share with class one interesting thing they learned from encyclopedia entry.
- Teacher lecture on the seasons of Antarctica with props.
- Introduce students to Penguin Watch online program.
- Explain the research program and how students will become involved in this project.
- Distribute packet on the five species students will be collecting data on during their investigation and a map of the world.
- Students complete penguin packet through research using the internet and label the world map on where the five species are located.
- Mapping Antarctica Temperature
- Hand out Map of Antarctica
- As a class label remaining missing Latitude and Longitude lines
- Display coordinates of 6 research stations work as a class to label two stations positions on Antarctica. Have students place the remaining four research stations.
- Provide students Excel sheet of year round temperatures at each location.
- Assign each student a month and have them color the research center according to its temperature and the legend.
- Hand out student PenguinWatch assignment sheet and data recording sheet
- Brainstorm as a class variable that can be investigated through this data collection. Have students construct their own hypothesis and explain data collection process.
Days 4 & 5
- Students collect data from analyzing PenguinWatch photographs; Recording data to investigate their own hypothesis.
- Students analyze the data they have collected and evaluate if they can support or not support their hypothesis. Students write a conclusion paragraph using this evidence. Conduct a class discussion on students’ investigations.
Day 7, 8, 9
- Assign each student a role in creating class bulletin board to communicate their research to their peers.
Potential Final Products:
- Life size: 5 Penguin Species, Leopard seal, Skua birds
- Life cycle chart
- Tabletop Map of South Polar Region
- 6 Research station summaries: Picture and graphs of annual precipitation and temperatures (add locations to Tabletop graph)
Students may investigate current laws and acts that protect the continent of Antarctica and its species and their impacts.
- Penguin Watch website: https://www.penguinwatch.org
- Background information
- Analysis of Photographs
- Discovering Antarctica website: http://discoveringantarctica.org.uk/oceans-atmosphere-landscape/atmosphe...
- Monthly Weather Spreadsheet
- Cool Antarctica: http://www.coolantarctica.com/Community/antarctic_bases.php
- Antarctica research station coordinates
- Super coloring: http://www.supercoloring.com/
- Pictures of Penguin Species
- Super teacher Worksheets: https://www.superteacherworksheets.com/maps.html
- Modified world map for pre/post assessment
- National Geographic: http://www.nationalgeographic.org/education
Map of the World Map of Antarctica Map of the South Polar Region Antarctica encyclopedia entry
- Antarctica Pre-assessment worksheet
- Species Packet
- Antarctica map with labeled research stations
- Student bulletin board contribution
- Hypothesis, data collection sheets, and conclusion statements
- Antarctica Post-assessment worksheet
Bridget Ward, PolarTREC Teacher 2019
Springfield Central High School
bridgetlward [at] yahoo.com
- Color pencils/Markers
- Poster Board
- Day 1 - Antarctica Pre-Assessment worksheet (Per student), Globe and Flashlight (demonstration)
- Day 2 - Penguin Species Packet (per student), World map (per student)
- Day 3 - Map of the South Polar Region (1 tabletop size), Excel spreadsheet of Antarctica Research Stations precipitation and temperature, document of longitude and latitude of Antarctica Research Stations, Penguin Watch Hypothesis/Conclusion worksheet (per student)
- Day 4 - Penguin Watch Data collection worksheet (per student), Antarctica Post-Assessment worksheet (per student)