Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Connect Your Students to Polar Science

Send Me Your Penguins

Here is a fun way to connect your class to Antarctica: decorate the flat penguin template, decorate it however you like, and send it to the address in the directions by October 23rd, 2015. I will be joining a team of scientists on November 1st to study human impacts at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Aside from posting journals about the science and life in Antarctica on my PolarTREC page, I will also take photos of your flat penguins at the station and email them back to you!

Adaptation Lesson: Blubber Gloves

While you wait for your flat penguin to make it to Antarctica, you can teach students about the interesting life at the bottom of the world, and the adaptations they have to keep warm.  My favorite fun hands-on activity is Blubber Gloves.  Here is a sample lesson using the Blubber Gloves.

Making Your Own Blubber Gloves

You may feel overwhelmed by the process of making blubber gloves, but it's really quite simple. To start you need Crisco (or any kind of shortening), freezer bags and duct tape.  A 48 ounce canister of Crisco typically makes 3 gallon-size gloves.

  1. Lay out 2 freezer bags.  Turn one of them inside out and fit it inside the other one.
  2.  Scoop Crisco in between the freezer bag layers on one side.  I typically use 10-12 spoonfuls, about 1/3rd of the container.
  3.  Seal the inner bag to the outer bag on that side. Turn the bags over.
  4. Put 2 - 3 scoops of Crisco in between the outer and inner bags on the second side.  Seal the bags together.
  5. You  now should have lots of Crisco between the bags on one side, and a little bit of Crisco on the other side.  Keeping most of the Crisco on one side, smooth out the lumps so that the sides are smooth.
  6. Place the bag on the table so the thicker side is facing down.  Place your hand in the "glove" and fold over the bag so that the thick layer covers most if not all of your hand.  Crease or leave the bag folded.

  7. Making sure the bag is completely sealed, tape along the outer edges and down the crease of the fold. I also tape the very end of the "glove".
  8. Lastly, create a similar glove using just one plastic bag.  This can be a control to compare the blubber glove with.  

You now have blubber gloves!  I like to have students make hypotheses, then use them in ice water to make observations, and lastly inferences about penguins!

I will be posting pictures of the day and journals/videos about life and science in Antarctica on my PolarTREC page. I am happy to make connections between what you are learning and life at the bottom of the world, so stay tuned!

You can also stay updated from my facebook page or on twitter (@MsBrownTeacher)

I'll resume posts about general science teaching when I return in December.

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