Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Polar Animals ~ Canada and Snowy Owls

Welcome to the second week of our Polar Animals party! Last week we had a lot of fun learning about Denmark and Polar Bears. This week we moved across the big water to Northern Canada and learned about the Snowy Owl.

Unfortunately, our library does not have the non-fiction book supply that I wish it had. In fact, there weren't even any fictional books about snowy owls (sigh). I don't like to do research with my kids on the internet. I like a colorful book loaded with facts. But, we do what we have to do. All of our facts came from Canadian Geographic. Due to some technical wireless difficulties, they did not get Canadian flags colored as of this posting. They will be working on them tomorrow.

We decided to incorporate the Snowy Owls into our regular studies, as well as learn about them as a separate unit. It was an all-around Snowy Owl week. (We even discussed the Snowy Owl at the Tulsa Zoo whom we have visited several times.)

Eli and Brynne watched a great PBS video called "Magic of the Snowy Owl". It aired back in October and can be watched for free on (A word of warning ... this is a tearjerker. At around the 34 minute mark, one of the owlets dies from starvation and then the other owlets eat him to survive, although they don't show it graphically. Thankfully we had some internet outage right as the owlet died and when it resumed it had skipped the eating part and the kids didn't realize it had happened. Eli might not have ever recovered from that.)

Instead of using the recommended topic of "Insects and Bugs" in our WriteShop Primary Book A writing program (Lesson 8), we used the Snowy Owl as our topic instead. We made a word family flower with the sound -owl. We looked at a photograph of a Snowy Owl and then wrote five observations of it. Then we used our observations to make a non-fiction story web, and used our web to write a factual paragraph.

We learned about why the poles are so cold.

Then we did a fun math game demonstrating how difficult it is for the Snowy Owl to survive in the Arctic.

This activity came from the book 175 Amazing Nature Experiments by Harlow and Morgan (pg. 139), that I purchased for $1 at the infamous Powell Books in Portland, Oregon. (And I'm going to Portland this weekend and I hope to get in another trip to the bookstore and it's $1 shelf. Go there if you ever get the chance!!)

For art, we learned about camouflage. Polar Bears aren't white ... but Snowy Owls are! And, they need to protect themselves from predators! You can see the white owls on their pictures, but you couldn't see them when they were taped to the white paper. They were camouflaged!

Finally, we did copywork of a poem called "Camouflage!" by Tamara Montgomery. I changed the words to describe a Snowy Owl instead of a Polar Bear, and as seen above we attached it to the bottom of our Camouflage art.

And here's a link to a really cool snowy owl art project that I wanted us to do, but we didn't get around to it. I will be a zombie next Tuesday coming back really late Monday night from a trip out West to see my brother and his family, so maybe this will be what we do for the day.

This was another fun week! Please visit The Usual MayhemNo Doubt Learning, Montessori Tidbits and Childhood Beckons to see what Polar activities they have been up to.


  1. Great idea to use your unit topic in WriteShop. I love that writing program, and adjusting it to go with your other studies is brilliant.

  2. Fun! I am sure I will use some of these resources when we study polar animals. For now their interest have taking them to Africa.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. What a wonderful week of learning!! I'm inspired. :)

  4. YOU wrote their papers, right? Right? ;) LOL My kids are finishing Handwriting Without Tears and I still can't always read their handwriting! What did you use with your kids? I can read theirs! LOL


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