Antarctica Unit w/ Free Printables

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Language:
Cursive Sandpaper Letters
Over the past few months the kiddos have been working hard learning their cursive letters.  After this week they will all be able to identify ALL lowercase letters.  They will also be able to trace each letter correctly using sandpaper letter cards.  For those who aren't aware, sandpaper letters are very Montessori.  I only wish I had used them sooner.  The kiddos LOVE them and are doing amazing with them.

You may wonder why I'm teaching cursive?  There are many reasons. Dinomite struggles when writing letters in print.  He often reverses letters like b, d, q, p, etc.  We're monitoring this issue carefully.  With cursive writing, he doesn't seem to struggle as much.  Bulldozer struggles with handwriting in general.  When writing words, the starting and stopping between each letter is very problematic for him.  He also struggles putting spaces between his words etc.  Writing in cursive helps Bulldozer with each of these issues.  Some feel that taking time to teach cursive takes away valuable time for other subjects, materials, etc.  In the case of my boys, it's the exact opposite!

Antarctica Grammar Activity
I am so excited to introduce my Antarctica Grammar Activity.  Since the beginning of the new year, I've been doing a lot of reading about Montessori.  It's my goal to read as many Montessori books as I can this year, and then incorporate all of my new knowledge into our learning time and home life.  I am absolutely in love with the way Maria Montessori taught grammar.  My kiddos love it too.  If you're not familiar with it, I plan on writing a post about it soon.

In many Montessori classrooms you will find a Grammar Farm.  This activity includes a barn, farm animals, equipment, farmers, and possibly a garden etc.  All of the materials have matching labels the kiddos work with.  Depending on the level of the students, the farm may also include verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and prepositions etc. written on slips of paper.  It's a great way to apply knowledge of grammar to a real life situation.  Every time I see this activity, I fall in love with it again.  However, we have yet to do a farm unit. Crazy!  I know.

As I was putting together our Antarctica Unit, I came across the Grammar Farm again.  Then it dawned on me.  There's no reason I can't create another scenario in which the kiddos can apply their knowledge of grammar to real life situations.  I don't have to wait for a farm unit. So, I bring you our Antarctica Grammar Activity!
To introduce this activity to the kiddos, I initiated a review of the parts of grammar they are familiar with.  As always, we used our Montessori Grammar Symbols.  All three kiddos are familiar with verbs, adverbs, nouns, adjectives, conjunctions, and prepositions.  They've become quite proficient at sorting words, building phrases and analyzing sentences.  I owe this all to the symbols.

The kiddos sorted out all of the words provided in the activity.  I made sure that they could read each word and understood it's meaning.  Then each kiddo went to town creating a phrase, using the words provided.  Finally, the kiddos used the materials provided to create the meaning of phrase they had built.  They were so proud of themselves and had so much fun in the process.

When it comes to choosing the activity on the shelves, they can simply sort the words using the symbols provided, they can add labels to specific materials, or they can have fun creating phrases and scenarios.  Whatever way, they're learning grammar!

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Antarctica Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of this post.

Antarctica Opposites
This activity is a review from last year.  I've made a few improvements to the printable, but overall it's still the same activity.  I just love the images I found to go along with the words.  The kiddos will sort cards, pairing opposites.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Antarctica Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of this post.

Antarctica Reading Comprehension
Last week, I was really sick.  Planning this unit was not my top priority.  I looked around trying to find already made printables I could include, ensuring I would have to do less work myself.  This activity is like nothing we've done before, but I thought it perfect for the kiddos.  Bulldozer may need assistance reading the sentences, but that's okay with me.  I'm more interested in his reading comprehension.  Sure enough all of the kiddos have done great with it!

Source:  My friend Seemi at Trillium Montessori created this printable as part of her Antarctica A-Z Montessori Style Activities Pack.  The printable pack does cost money, but it's definitely worth it!

Math:
Learning Numbers to 9,999,999
My kiddos are very interested in numbers, especially Dinomite and Princess.  All have mastered writing, reading, and verbally presenting numbers 0-9,999.  When they see numbers bigger than that, they always try to invent ways to say them.  It was definitely time to teach them numbers to 9,999,999.  Sure enough they're obsessed with their new number activity.  I've taken two different Montessori materials: the Montessori Large Bead Frame and the Montessori Bank Game, and combined them to create one activity that will work for my kiddos in our classroom setting.  The kiddos will create numbers using the number cards in the bank game that match the bead presentation they've created on the bead frame.

When I first presented this lesson material, Dinomite appeared overwhelmed by it.  The next day, it was one of the first activities he pulled off the shelf. He was determined to learn the material and master it.  Sure enough he has!   

Introduction to Negative Numbers
Learning about Antarctica provides the perfect opportunity to introduce negative numbers.  Of course Maria Montessori created hands on materials for everything!  Numbers 1-9 are represented using her colored bead bars.  Negative numbers -1 to -9 are represented by the gray bead bars.  You'll note that the gray bead bars are two toned for numbers -5 through -9.  I don't have an official set of the negative bar beads, so I had to create my own using pipe cleaners and pony beads I had on hand.

The kiddos will put beads in their correct places on the sheet of paper and then write the correct number to represent each bar of beads.

As I was presenting the lesson on this activity, Bulldozer couldn't wait to get his hands on it.  He was so intrigued, not only by the presentation of the materials, but the concept of negative numbers in general.  He even went as far as initiating a conversation with his Daddy that first night, asking him if he knew there was such a thing as negative numbers.  (I could hardly contain my excitement as I watched this take place.)  Sure enough he chose this activity the very next day and did the whole thing with minimal assistance.  He keeps telling me how much he loves the gray bead bars.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Antarctica Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Monthly Temperatures in Antarctica
Once negative numbers have been introduced, it's very easy to discuss the temperature in Antarctica.  (It's also very easy to discuss the temperatures here in NY this winter.  Lol.)  However, the hard part was finding a way to present so much material in a simple way, that the kiddos would understand.  All three kiddos are amazing with bar graphs. They can read them, create them, and answer questions about them.  I thought it might be fun to introduce them to line graphs.

This activity includes three graphs:  average monthly temperatures in Antarctica, lowest monthly temperatures in Antarctica, and highest monthly temperatures in Antarctica.  The temperature information is already given on each graph.  However, the lines are missing.  It's the job of the kiddos to use the ruler and markers provided, to create the lines needed to complete the graph.

This activity has turned out to teach them quite a lot!  Little did I realize they had no clue how to draw a straight line using a ruler.  Apparently it takes a bit of coordination.  Over time they're mastering the skill.

When the graphs were completed the first time around, the kiddos were fascinated by them.  They couldn't believe how cold the weather was in Antarctica and how it changed each month.  Their warmest weather takes place during our coldest months in NY.  Who knew graphs could be so cool?

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Antarctica Unit Math Language Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

What is the Temperature?
This activity is review from last year.  I couldn't resist putting it on our shelves for two reasons.  It's a review of temperature, which is very much a part of our unit.  The temperature cards also require the kiddos to count by 10s and 5s, which helps them review skip counting!  Instead of using glass beads as markers, I decided to throw in clothespins to help them work on fine motor skills at the same time.  It's amazing to see how much the kiddos have improved with this activity since last year.  They all did so great with it!

Source:  These free cards can be found at Making Learning Fun.  (While writing this post, I tried this link, and was unable to connect to the website.  My apologies if these cards are no longer available.)

Science:
Parts of a Whale
At the age of 2, Bulldozer was obsessed with whales.  He could identify any whale he saw, having memorized all of their names.  The theme of his 2nd birthday was whales.  His favorite whale has always been the Orca Whale.  Whenever I have a chance to bring whales into a unit, I jump at the opportunity.  I could not resist using these parts of a whale cards.  The kiddos can all make their own books!

Source: This free printable is available to all subscribers at Trillium Montessori.

My Book of Penguins
For those who don't care to create a book about whales, there is also this activity on the shelves this week.  The kiddos will use the penguin information cards to help them color and label each type of penguin in their very own books.  I have only included penguins that live in Antarctica.

Source:  This printable was created by my friend Seemi at Trillium Montessori, as part of her Mini Unit: Penguin Identification Pack.  There is a cost for the printable, but it is definitely worth it!

50+ Animals of Antarctica
A continent unit wouldn't be the same without animal cards for Dinomite.  These cards are from last year, but a few changes have been made.
To make animal cards even more fun, the set now includes description cards for the types of animals we've learned about thus far.  (If you note any information missing from these cards, please let me know so I can add it.)
Source:  My husband, Jason created these cards as part of our Antarctica Unit Geography & Culture Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Culture/Geography:
Play Dough Map of Antarctica
The kiddos will use the play dough to cover the continent of Antarctica. If they're feeling brave, they can also add the topography of the continent!

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Antarctica Unit Geography & Culture Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy. click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Physical Features of Antarctica
Antarctica is such a fascinating continent to me.  I would seriously love to visit there some day.  These 3 part cards are helping the kiddos learn about some of the amazing physical features there.  Bulldozer is loving these cards and studying them in such detail.  He's asking questions too, which I love!

Source:  This free printable is available to all subscribers at Trillium Montessori.

Transportation in Antarctica
Transportation in Antarctica is quite fascinating, especially to my boys!  I created a version of these cards last year but was unable to make them available to my readers due to copyright laws.  This year, I created a new set that are now available to everyone.  Hooray!

In our classroom we're using these cards for our newest memory game.  They can be used in a variety of ways though.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Antarctica Unit Geography & Culture Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Music:
Note & Rest Value Sort
I'm trying to ramp up our music studies this year.  Dinomite and Princess are doing so well with their piano lessons. They're ready for more.  In this activity the kiddos will sort notes and rests.  The idea for this activity came from a guest post by Dyan, creator of And Next Comes L, on the blog B-Inspired Mama.

The kiddos also continue with their piano practice and children's singing group.

Art:
How to Draw a Whale or Penguin
The kiddos will learn how to draw a whale and penguin using the cards provided.  Bulldozer was super excited about this activity.  Hooray for progress with him!

Source: The step-by-step instructions on how to draw a whale can be found here. The step-by-step instructions on how to draw a penguin can be found here.

The kiddos are also doing a penguin craft this week.

Sensorial:
Introduction to Geometric Solids
The Montessori sensorial curriculum includes the study of geometric solids or 3-D shapes.  This week we introduce the first three:  sphere, cube, and cone.  It was hilarious listening to the kiddos try to pronounce the word sphere correctly the first day of activities.  When selecting this tray of work the kiddos will sort the objects in the basket, identifying their 3-D shape correctly.

Introduction to Geometric Shapes
Going along with our geometric solids, the kiddos are reviewing the first two of many geometric shapes that are part of the Montessori curriculum.  They will be using the plastic version of the Montessori metal insets for this activity.  I chose to use a square and circle to show the difference between 3-D and 2-D shapes we're learning.  The kiddos will trace the inside of the pink frame. using one colored pencil and then the outside of the matching blue shape, using the other colored pencil.  They will then practice drawing straight or curved lines inside their shape.

I thought this would be a simple activity for the kiddos, but it has turned out to be quite difficult.  Dinomite is really struggling with it, becoming extremely frustrated.  Hopefully it will come easier as time passes.  None of the other kiddos have tried it.
  
Practical Life:
Sponge Transfer
The kiddos will place the sponge in the first bowl, filled with water. They will then transfer the wet sponge to the second bowl, squeezing the water out.  This process continues until all the water is transferred.

My kiddos are in awe of this activity.  Bulldozer studied every aspect of it for quite some time.  We don't use sponges in our house.  This was their first time ever being introduced to them.  I'm guessing I'll need to invest in some, because the kiddos think they are magical.  Lol.

Sugar Cube Transfer
The kiddos will transfer the sugar cubes, one at a time, into individual spots on the tray.

Tweezing Pom Poms
The kiddos will transfer pom poms from one bowl to the other using the tweezers provided.

For those interested in the printable packs, click on the links below:




If you're looking for more activities to include in your winter and/or Antarctica studies, check out these posts from last year!


For those interested in materials used in this unit:



Next week we'll be studying Europe! Be sure to stop back to see our newest continent study with a ton of brand new printables!

4 comments:

  1. You have really outdone yourself with this unit!!! So incredibly well done, and free! I can't thank you enough for how much your units have blessed our homeschool experience. God bless!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you like the unit Tammie! Enjoy! It's my gift to you. :)

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  2. I am so grateful for these units. You have blessed our family so much. Thank you for sharing!!!

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  3. You are amazing! This is everything I was looking for to start our new Montessori continent units. I am new to this Montessori homeschool thing and sites like yours make me feel like it is possible. Thank you!

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