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Elementary Lesson Plan


Minor, Wendell and Florence Minor
If You Were a Penguin
Pictures and rhyming text present some of the many extraordinary things penguins can do. Includes facts about penguins as well as related websites.
Guiberson, Brenda Z.
The Emperor Lays an Egg
Follow as a penguin grows from egg to adulthood in the coldest place on earth.

Additional Books:

Schlein, Miriam
What's a Penguin Doing in a Place Like This?
Outlines the varied worldwide habitats, differences, and common traits of all kinds of penguins.
Sayre, April Pulley
Hooray for Antarctica!
Introduces the continent of Antarctica, looking at its geography, plant and animal life, weather, and settlement by humans.
Stonehouse, Bernard
A Visual Introduction to Penguins
Illustrations and text introduce the physical characteristics, behavior, and habitat of various species of penguins.

Vocabulary Word:

Toboggan: (verb) to fall rapidly (from If You Were a Penguin)



Have You Ever Seen A Penguin?

(Tune: Have You Ever Seen a Lassie?)

Have you ever seen a penguin? A penguin? A penguin?
Have you ever seen a penguin swim this way and that?
Swim this way and that way? And this way and that way?
Have you ever seen a penguin swim this way and that? (make swimming motions with arms)

slide this way and that (make sliding motion with arms)
waddle this way and that (feet close together, tiny waddling steps)
flap this way and that (arms close to sides, flap little "wings")

Penguin March

(children are marching or waddling as they repeat this military chant; children repeat each line after the teacher)

I'm a penguin black and white
I can't fly but that's all right
I've got feathers that's not fur
and I lay eggs like other birds

Penguins, 1, 2
Penguins, 3, 4
Penguins, 5, 6, 7, 8
They're great!

I just swim to get my meals
But I watch out for leopard seals.
I'm from the south as you may know
And now it's time for me to go.
(repeat chorus)



Blubber Experiment

Separate Ziploc bags into two pairs. With each pair place one Ziploc bag into the other. Take one pair of the Ziploc bags and fill with a layer (about 2cm.) of Crisco. Seal the gap between the bags with duct tape leaving the inner bag open so you can put your hand in it. This is your blubber glove. Put one hand inside the blubber glove. Squish the fat around as necessary so as to cover your hand completely. Put your other hand inside the two other plastic bags (without Crisco). This is your control. Now dip both hands into the icy water. Which one gets colder first?

Children participating in this activity should learn that the blubber glove keeps their hand from getting as cold as their other hand. This is to simulate how penguins and other marine mammals (walruses, whales, otters, etc.) stay warm in such cold waters as in the Antarctic/Arctic environments.


Pass out world maps to the students. As a class, label the continents of the world and New Zealand. Depending on the ability of the students, do one or all of the following:

  • Using different colors, color the continents and New Zealand that contain wildlife penguins (Explain to students that they are identifying where penguins naturally live and not including zoos.)
  • Draw pictures of the penguins on the continents where they live.
  • Write the names of the penguins on the correct continents.

Discuss the climate differences between living in Antarctica, South America, Australia, and Africa.