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Connected Experience: Have You Ever Seen a Penguin?

Abstract

Students will learn about the traits and habits of penguins through song and demonstration, and then observe live penguins in a museum exhibit.

Objectives

Students will:

  1. learn about the traits and habits of penguins through song and demonstration.
  2. observe live penguins in a museum exhibit.

Materials

  • chaperone questions about the black-footed penguin

Activity

Before your Visit

Preparation

  1. Write the words to the song below on the board for your students to follow.

Have You Ever Seen a Penguin?

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?

Have you ever seen a penguin? a penguin? a penguin?
Have you ever seen a penguin waddle this way and that?
Waddle this way and that way and this way and that way?
Have you ever seen a penguin waddle this way and that?

Procedure

  1. Ask students to share what they know about birds. How do they move? Where do they live? What covers their body? Where do you find a baby bird?
  2. Tell students that when they visit the California Academy of Sciences on a field trip, they will come face to face with an odd bird! Ask if any students have heard of a penguin. What can they share about penguins?
  3. Tell students that unlike most birds, which spread their wings to fly high in the sky, penguins move quite differently. They waddle on land, and swim in the water. What does ‘waddle’ mean?
  4. Have the students stand up to practice moving like a penguin. Have the students stand up straight and stiff, with their arms to their sides, and hands held out flat. Show them how to waddle, taking tiny steps, and how to swim by stroking their wings stiffly through the water. Penguins move slowly on land, because their legs stay close together, but they swim quickly and smoothly through the ocean.
  5. As a class, sing the song to the tune of Have you Ever Seen a Lassie? as you waddle and swim around the room!

At the Academy

Preparation

  1. Make copies of the chaperone questions for the black-footed penguin.

Procedure

  1. Gather the students around the penguin exhibit. Note that feeding times occur daily at 10:30 am and 3:30 pm, so plan to avoid or join the crowds accordingly.
  2. Have chaperones guide the students in observation. Allow each student 30 seconds of quiet time to come up with their own question. Chaperones can provide answers, or use the questions to start discussions.
  3. Gather the students in the open space at the center of the hall. Have students assume the pose of a penguin (feet together and arms by their sides). Demonstrate how long penguins can hold their breath while swimming underwater by having students swim in place for 45 seconds (average dive), and then for 2 ½ minutes (maximum). Because humans can not normally hold their breath this long, challenge students to stand on their tippy-toes instead.
  4. Because penguins are shaped like a torpedo, their body glides quickly through the water as they push off with their wings. So in a few minutes, they can dive deep while searching for fish. Most of their prey lives close to the surface, but South African penguins can dive as deep as 130 m (390 ft). How long is this distance? Have students stretch out both arms to their sides, and form a line across the hall from the penguin exhibit glass to the back wall. How far do they think a penguin could dive? (The exhibit hall is 137 ft long, so on a deep dive, a penguin could make it to the far wall, back to their tank, and back to the far wall again! That’s a lap and a half!)

Back at School

Procedure

  1. Based on the observations students made in the gallery, compose new verses to add to the song. Ask students to remember what they noticed the penguins doing, and think of some words that describe that action. Reinforce new vocabulary by having students sing or move in a way that models the adverb (quickly, loudly, etc).

Examples:

Have you ever heard a penguin call loudly, so loudly?
Have you ever heard a penguin chirp softly and sweet?
Call loudly, chirp softly, call loudly, chirp softly,
Have you ever heard a penguin make sounds from its beak?

Have you ever seen a penguin dive deeper and deeper?
Have you ever seen a penguin dive deep in the sea?
Dive deeper and deeper, to hunt for some fish,
Have you ever seen a penguin dive deep in the sea?

Have you ever seen a penguin sit still, oh so quietly?
Have you ever seen a penguin sit still on the rocks?
Sit quietly, unmoving, not making a sound,
Have you ever seen a penguin sit still on the rocks?

Extensions

Lead students in an interdisciplinary art project using our Fraction Penguin lesson.

References

  • California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium. (no date). Penguin Facts.

Resources

California Content Standards

Kindergarten

Life Sciences

  • 2a. Students know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects).

Visual and Performing Arts: Dance

  • 1.2 Perform basic locomotor skills (e.g., walk, run, gallop, jump, hop, and balance).
  • 1.4 Perform simple movements in response to oral instructions (e.g., walk, turn, reach).

Grade One

Life Sciences

  • 2a. Students know different plants and animals inhabit different kinds of environments and have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.

Visual and Performing Arts: Dance

  • 1.1 Demonstrate the ability to vary control and direct force/energy used in basic locomotor and axial movements (e.g., skip lightly, turn strongly, fall heavily).
  • 2.5 Imitate simple movement patterns.

Grade Two

Visual and Performing Arts: Dance

  • 1.1 Combine and perform basic locomotor skills, moving on a specific pathway (e.g., skip in circles, slide in zigzags, run in a variety of linear paths). Combine and perform locomotor and axial movements (e.g., walk and turn, stretch and slide).
  • 1.2 Demonstrate the ability to start, change, and stop movement.

 

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