Create a penguin unit study for your homeschool using some or all of these suggestions. Get ideas for books, experiments, and more!
Putting together mini unit studies is one of my favorite things to do for our homeschool. I get to focus on a subject, usually an animal, that my kids are super interested in, and then we learn all about it together. It’s a great way to do science because you learn about topics that actually interest them, especially for younger kids. There is no need to buy a hefty science curriculum right now.
Like I said, an animal is usually our focus because my kids are obsessed with all things nature and mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, etc. It’s a great topic to interest all of them from the 8-year-old down to the 2-year-old.
Recommended Books for your Penguin Unit Study
Books are our favorite way to learn in our home. We love to read and spend the majority of our school time doing just that. All of us gathered around with sticker books, coloring stuff, quiet toys, and listening ears and learning together. So when we dive in to a new topic to learn about, the first thing I start to pull are books. I grab from our shelves at home, and also check out a lot from our library.
Note: When I am looking for books to put together a homeschool unit study, I like to also include picture books that my 4- and 2-year-old will enjoy. It may have a couple facts thrown in about the animal, but it isn’t necessarily an educational book. We snuggle up and read these together, and then they may get down and play while I read more with my older two kids.
Check out our favorite penguin books:
**These books are ones that we personally own because we use them so often!
Hands on Learning for your Penguin Unit Study
Giving kids an opportunity for hands on learning is a great way to help the facts stick even more. When more areas of the brain get activated, the easier it is to remember things. There are so many different ways to provide hands on learning opportunities.
- Field trip – Field trips are a fantastic way to bring learning to life. We were lucky enough to go to our aquarium recently and stand at the penguin exhibit for a while. Right when we got there, it was feeding time! It was amazing to watch them dive into the water and see how fast they could swim through the water before leaping back out onto land. My kids had a blast and being able to see it in person really helped solidify the information we had been learning about penguins in our unit study.
- Crafts – I am not the best in this area, but thankfully there are so many other moms willing to share their gifts with the rest of us. Google or Pinterest are fantastic search engines to use when you are looking for some related craft ideas.
- Art – My kids always enjoy drawing and coloring, so this is a great opportunity to use that love as a learning tool for your bat study. The Draw Write Now books are so fantastic for showing the steps to draw an animal, while also giving a little handwriting practice for the older kids. Anytime we are learning about animals, we love to add them to our nature journal and the older kids get a little handwriting practice also by writing a few facts.
Experiment for Your Penguin Unit Study
One of the amazing facts about penguins is that they live in such a cold environment and even brave the freezing water. Their bodies are specifically designed to survive in this environment, and we were able to do an interesting experiment to discover how it works.
Penguins have the ability to spend long periods of time in the frigid water because of a special wax coating on their feathers. The wax helps repel the water, keeping the moisture out and their body warm.
For this experiment, you will need:
- Cardstock paper print out of a penguin (get yours below)
- Crayons in black, white and orange
- Cup of water
- Blue food coloring
Once the penguin is printed out, have your child color it in completely with the crayons. Make sure they get a good thick coating on it, especially in the white area. (Remember, the experiment is so they can observe the wax repelling the water). While they color, you get a cup of water and add 2-3 drops of blue food coloring. The blue food coloring helps make the water stand out more for a better visual.
When the penguin is completely colored in, it’s time to check out how the wax on their feathers is a huge benefit. Help your child use a dropper to squeeze the water with blue food coloring on different areas of the penguin. Instead of soaking into the paper and spreading, it will create little beads of pooled water. Show them the difference when you drop it on plain paper versus the paper coated with crayon (wax). Use this opportunity to explain why this is such an important feature for penguins to have in their habitat.
Video for your Penguin Unit Study
Adding short videos about the topic is such a great way to bring learning to life as well. Even though we do minimal screen time in our family, I recognize the ability that technology has to draw my kid’s attention and help them absorb information. Discovery and NatGeo also have amazing programs about animals that you could turn into a fun and educational family tv night. So check out this amazing playlist of educational penguin videos!
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