Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Polar Bear, Polar Bear

Ah what did we see? Students engaged in an activity! Ok, so my rhyming skills are only so-so, but today was a brilliant day to be a first-grade scientist! My kiddos and I have been learning about descriptive writing and identifying details in expository text. Our topic? Polar Bears. Now that we finally have snow, it seems like a good time to talk about this lovable Arctic animals.

To begin, we made a KWL chart yesterday. We brainstormed as a group all of the things we know about polar bears. Then we listed all of the things we wanted to know. I've learned two things, a) my students know a lot about polar bears! and b) they are great at coming up with questions to further their knowledge. We filled out our polar bears can, have are graphic organizer and were set for our experiment!

Today I posed the question, what keep polar bears warm? Then came the fun part! We conducted a science experiment about what which would be a better insulator, cotton balls or shortening (aka our polar bear blubber)? To conduct the experiment I gave each trio of students a small "Arctic ocean" filled with ice water. Then, each group got a empty plastic Ziplock bag, one lined with cotton balls (I double bagged them so the students wouldn't put their hands in the cotton balls) and one filled with shortening (again, double bagged :) )

Each student tested the water and all of them were pleasantly surprised that the shortening, or our simulated blubber, was the best insulator! The kiddos and I had such a blast! We are definitely looking forward to learning more about polar bears tomorrow!

shortening glove

cotton balls

~ Katie

Click here if you want the polar bear can, have, are page