Winter is a great time for a penguin study, and older kids love learning about these cute animals just as much as little ones do! Animal studies for older kids should use lots of informational text. Provide your students the opportunity to learn through multiple sources and research. This allows you to practice reading standards while also meeting science animal standards.
Begin your penguin study by learning the basics. This fact book has 6 tabs that cover the basic characteristics of any animal. Read penguin facts. Learn about what penguins eat and how they hunt. Where do penguins live? Read about the various penguin habitats. How many species of penguins are there? Learn what makes each penguin species different from the next. Read about how penguins adapt to their environment. Finally, learn about the penguin life cycle.
Read one page of the fact book each day. Discuss the text and new vocabulary. Follow up with the included videos or activities.
Watch these penguin videos throughout your study. Print and post the QR code poster in your classroom for early finishers or at a learning center. Use the website links poster to watch videos whole group. A video viewing guide is included to take notes on any of the videos. Use one viewing guide with all videos or use a new one with each video.
Learn and reinforce new vocabulary throughout your penguin study. Hang the vocabulary posters on the wall or a bulletin board for easy reference. Use the vocabulary sheets to define, match, and write about new words. Keep words visible in the classroom and use them often. This will help students make new words a part of their vocabulary.
Life Cycle of a Penguin
Every animal study includes learning about its life cycle. Use the diagram and text to learn the steps of a penguin’s life cycle. Complete the sequencing activity to reinforce learning.
Parts of a Penguin
Learn more about penguin adaptations by learning about the parts of a penguin. The diagram and text dive deeper into how each body part is used to help penguins survive in their environment. Complete the comprehension questions to review what you learned.
Penguin Species Research
Assign or let students choose a penguin species to research. Use the Internet or books to guide students through the research process. Complete the planning graphic organizer to gather facts. Write a summary of the penguin species. Make a detailed diagram of the penguin species parts. This research assignment should take students between three and five days to complete.
Penguin Coloring Notes
Do you use coloring notes in your classroom? They are one of my (and my students) FAVORITE ways to review a unit of study. Complete the coloring notes throughout the unit or at the end. The completed notes page serves as a great study guide or entry into the science notebook.
Projects are a great way to differentiate learning. I love to use project choice boards so students can follow their curiosity and learning styles. This project choice board includes 9 different research ideas for students to extend their learning of penguins. The product presentation is broad on purpose to allow for creativity and originality. Remember to discuss the grading rubric at the beginning of the project. Assign a deadline for completion. (Read more about the value of providing student choice here.)
If you don’t have time or want your entire class to complete a project, then use the project choice board for early finishers. It also works well to extend the learning of those gifted students in your classroom.
Need a digital version of the Penguin unit? Click here for a Penguin study for Google slides.