Life in the Freezer: Antarctica
(Key Stage 1: English, Science and PSHE)
Antarctica is a large mass of land buried under a vast ice cap at the most southern point of the Earth. The area was first seen by explorers in 1820, but no person chose to live there until 1897 when explorers set up stations where they could live and study the unique continent. Now there are 60 bases all over Antarctica where scientific studies are carried out. The Antarctic is the coldest, driest and windiest place on Earth. The lowest recorded temperature there was –89.6 degrees C, although temperatures normally range from –40 degrees C to –70 degrees C in winter. In summer, in some areas, temperatures can reach as high as 15 degrees C.
Although the weather is harsh and life tough, many animals and birds live in Antarctica. There are many species of penguins, whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, birds, fish and other aquatic (sea) life. Some of the animals and birds who live there are listed below.
The Antarctica File
Teachers’ Note: These sheets can be compiled to make an ‘Antarctic fact file’, or the children can work on poster-sized sheets, which can then be used to decorate the classroom.
Choose an animal or bird from the list below (make sure no one else has already chosen the same one!) and answer the questions about your chosen animal. Write all the information down on a piece of paper and decorate it with a picture of your animal.
1. Who am I?
2. What do I look like?
3. What do I eat?
4. Where do I live?
5. How big am I?
6. How often do I have babies?
7. How do I look after my offspring?
8. What special features do I have that make living in the cold Antarctic possible?
9. What interesting characteristics do I have?
10. What or who are my biggest threats?
I am an Emperor penguin. I am the largest of all penguins and have a black head, a blue-grey neck and orange patches around my ears. My chest is yellow. I eat fish and squid. I live on the ice of the Antarctic and swim in the water, where I catch my food … and so on.
Finally, finish these sentences as your chosen animal or bird would.
1. My wish for the future is …
2. Human beings could help me by …
Choose one of the following:
Dolphins and Porpoises
Southern Rightwhale Dolphin
Antarctic Fur Seal
Southern Bottle-Nose Whale
Southern Right Whale