The first grade class read lots of information about penguins, learning about their physical characteristics, habitat, offspring, and what they eat. To make their reading come to life, the students participated in hands-on, fun activities including “Emperor for a Day.” To start the activity, the first graders created emperor penguin eggs out of clay. Then they took their shoes off, kept their socks on, curled up their feet, and we had fun walking like penguin parents, with their egg on their feet. The students discovered that it is harder than they thought it would be!
Did you know that penguins spend a lot of time applying wax to their outer feathers? The wax comes from a gland at the base of their tail, and they use their beaks to apply it to the rest of their body. To find out how waxy feathers help penguins, the first graders colored a penguin using crayons to emulate the wax on their outer feathers, while leaving a picture of a cat uncolored (without wax). The students then sprinkled water on both animals, and discovered how a penguin’s body let less water through the paper than the cat’s body. The students not only enjoyed this hands-on activity, but came to truly understood how wax helps the penguins.