INTRODUCTION. PHOTOGRAPHY Fred Olivier

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2 INTRODUCTION The BBC film Planet Earth: From Pole to Pole introduces students to how the power of the sun drives our world s climate and the lifegiving cycle of water. It also explores how animals have adapted to the seasonal changes in temperature and light. From the extreme conditions faced on Antarctica by the Emperor Penguins who incubate a single egg through the four-month winter. To the forced march of the elephants in the Kalahari Desert in Africa in search of water in the rainy season. PHOTOGRAPHY Fred Olivier 1

3 TEACHER BACKGROUND The sun drives our planet s changing seasons, powers the endless cycle of water, and is the source of energy for nearly every life form on our planet. The predictable succession of the four seasons winter, spring, summer, and fall are a result of the Earth being tilted on its axis as it revolves around the sun. The sun s rays strike the surface of the planet differently in each season. For example, in North America in the summer the Earth is tilted toward the sun and so the days become gradually warmer and longer. The opposite is true in the winter, when North America is tilted away from the sun resulting in shorter days and colder temperatures. Spring Summer Winter Fall At the Arctic (North Pole) and in Antarctica (South Pole) the seasonal changes are even more dramatic. When it s winter in the Arctic, these areas are blanketed in total darkness and endure extremely cold temperatures, but at the same time, it s summer in Antarctica which is bathed in near constant sunlight during the summer. The reverse is also true, when it s winter in Antarctica, it s summer in the Arctic. 2

4 TEACHER BACKGROUND cont d How do animals survive, find food and shelter, and care for their young through the changing seasons, especially at the polar extremes? Mother polar bears in the Arctic North spend the dark cold winter months in a snow cave. It s during this time that the mother gives birth to her cubs, usually two. The mother does not eat during this time, but uses the energy she stored up in the fall to nurse the cubs. At birth the cubs are only about 12 inches long and weigh about one pound. PHOTOGRAPHY Jason C. Roberts In Antarctica, the Emperor Penguin survives the winter in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet where temperatures can drop to 90 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (-70 Celsius). All winter long the males huddle together to stay warm while cradling a single egg on top of their feet. The egg is kept warm by the male s warm feathers. After surviving the four-month long winter, the baby penguins hatch and as a result have a head start on other birds. During the summer months, the poles experience just the reverse, sunlight all day. In the seas around the poles, sea ice melts and plankton thrive from the combination of near constant sunlight and nutrients in the sea water. The incredible abundance of the tiny plankton provides food to animals like fish and squid. These in turn are food for even larger predators like the fur seal, which are also hunted by the great white shark. 3

5 TEACHER BACKGROUND cont d Not only do the interactions between the sun and oceans affect our seasons, they also have a tremendous impact on our weather patterns. In the tropics, heat from the sun warms the oceans and evaporates water into the atmosphere. The water condenses to form clouds which are carried over land. Most of the rain we experience on land started in the ocean. Hurricanes and monsoons are examples of powerful weather systems that affect the land, the animals, and people living there. In the tropical regions, the temperature and amount of daylight stay constant through much of the year. Instead of four seasons, these areas may experience just two typically one wet and the other the dry season. For animals living in these areas, being able to survive drought is critical until the rains come or they can find water. 4

6 STANDARDS & PRINCIPLES The following science standards and ocean and climate principles are supported by the From Pole to Pole film, and the activities in this resource guide. NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS Life Science (Standard C) Characteristics of organisms Life cycle of organisms Organisms and their environment OCEAN LITERACY PRINCIPLES 1. The Earth has one big ocean with many features. 3. The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate. 5. The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems. 6. The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected. CLIMATE LITERACY PRINCIPLES 1. Life on Earth has been shaped by, depends on, and affects climate. 3. The sun is the primary source of energy for the climate system. 4. Earth s weather and climate systems are the result of complex interactions. 5. Earth s weather and climate vary over time and space. 5

7 PRE-SHOW ACTIVITY TIS THE SEASON DIRECTIONS TO TEACHERS This activity is designed to introduce younger children to the concept of seasons and how they follow a predictable cycle. Discuss with your students: What are the four seasons? What season is it now in your area? How do you know what season it is? Which one is your favorite season? Why? The Season Matching Game introduces students to some of the differences in each season, and asks them to put the seasons in their proper order. SEASON MATCHING GAME Match the season with the item on the right that best describes it. Spring Winter Summer Fall 6

8 PRE-SHOW ACTIVITY Cont d What season is it now in your area? How do you know this? Put the seasons in the correct order. Start with the current season. Either write the name of the season in the space below, or draw or paste a picture of the symbol. How do you prepare for each season? 7

9 PRE-SHOW ACTIVITY Cont d POLAR BEARS VERSUS PENGUINS PART 1 - DIRECTIONS TO TEACHERS Not only do people have to be prepared for the changing seasons. Animals have adapted to the seasons as well. In this activity students will be introduced to two animals from the film the polar bear and Emperor Penguin to get a better understanding of some of the similarities between the Arctic and the Antarctic and to distinguish facts and myths of penguins and polar bears. One myth younger students often have is that polar bears and penguins live together. Actually they live on opposite ends of the globe. Show or ask students to find the North Pole (Arctic) and the South Pole (Antarctica) on a globe or world map. When it is summer in the Arctic it is winter in Antarctic and viceversa. During the summer, the poles have 24 hours of daylight. In the winter, the sun will not come up for months. Ask your students to imagine living in a place where the sun never sets all summer long. How would they live? What would they do? Ask your students to imagine living in a place where it was dark all winter long and the sun never rose. How would they live? What would they do? Polar bears inhabit the Arctic region in parts of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway and Russia. Temperatures can fall to -40 to -50 degrees below zero in the winter. To stay warm, polar bears have thick fur. They also have a layer of fat, called blubber, to help them stay warm. In fact, sometimes polar bears can get too hot, especially if they have been running or very active. Demonstration: Prepare for this demonstration by providing layers of warm clothes (sweater, sweatshirt, etc.), a heavy winter coat, a hat, and gloves for a volunteer student. Ask the volunteer to be a polar bear. Dress the student in the layers of warm clothes, coat, hat and gloves. 8

10 PRE-SHOW ACTIVITY Cont d Ask the student to walk quickly (do not run) around the classroom until the student begins to feel very warm. Stop the demonstration and remove the extra clothing. Discuss with the class: How do you think the layers of clothing are like fur and blubber? What can you do if you get too warm? What do you think a polar bear does to cool down? PART 2 - DIRECTIONS TO TEACHERS Penguins live near Antarctica. Penguins are birds, but they cannot fly. Instead they fly through the water. They have insulating feathers and fat to keep them warm. There are 17 different kinds of penguins. One is called the Emperor Penguin. This penguin is unique because it lays its eggs at the coldest time of the year. The male penguins are in charge of protecting each egg. Instead of building a nest, he balances the egg on top of his feet to keep the egg off the snow and ice. He covers the egg with his belly and feathers to keep it warm. The males huddle together to stay warm until spring when the egg hatches. Activity: Needs: A large open space. One large plastic Easter eggs or craft egg for each student. A timer, stopwatch or clock. Tell your students that they are going to become Emperor Penguins. Each student is given an egg. Each student needs to care for and protect their egg for the whole winter. Place the egg on top of his/ her feet. The penguins must also move slowly to stay warm. If the egg falls off their feet, the egg will not survive. Tell the students to put the egg on top of their feet. Set the timer for winter to last two minutes. Tell students to start moving. If the egg falls off their feet, the student must leave the game and sit on the sidelines. After two minutes, how many penguin eggs survived? At the end of the activity, ask your class what it was like to care for the egg? Was it easy? Difficult? 9

11 POST-SHOW ACTIVITY WHAT S YOUR WEATHER? DIRECTIONS TO TEACHERS In the film From Pole to Pole, students saw how the weather, climate and changing seasons affect animals. In this activity, students conduct a simple experiment recording their observations of the daily weather in their area. Students will observe and record the weather in their area daily. It is best if students can observe at the same time every day. Use the Weather Chart below to record their observations. A simple Weather Key is provided to help younger students identify the weather. Either write in the word or put a picture that describes the weather for that day. Remember, more than one type of weather condition could happen at the same time (for example: rainy and windy) Example: DATE September 19 September 20 September 21 September 22 September 23 September 24 Continue more daily observations WEATHER Weather Key: Rain Cloudy Partly Sunny Windy Sunny 10

12 POST-SHOW ACTIVITY Older students can also record the temperature using an outdoor thermometer at school. If they do this, try to make the observation at the same time of the day each time. If you don t have access to a thermometer at school, students can also find the daily temperature on the Internet, or from the local newspaper, TV or radio. Example: DATE September 19 September 20 September 21 September 22 September 23 September 24 Continue more daily observations WEATHER TEMPERATURE 57º 60º 52º 49º 61º 42º 11

13 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & RESOURCES Planet Earth: Pole to Pole is a BBC/Discovery Channel/NHK coproduction in association with the CBC and are made available through a partnership with CineMuse. This companion piece to the film Planet Earth: Pole to Pole 4-D Experience was created by Educational Consultant Joe Harber for SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment. The following resources were used to develop this Learning Guide. Educators may reproduce these materials for students. Design & illustration by Maggie Ziemirska, SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment Graphic Design Department. The Discovery Channel Learn more about the Planet Earth Series, from which From Pole To Pole in 4D is adapted. Polar Bears International Contains lots of information about polar bears and how you can help protect them. The Journey North Is a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. Students track the coming of spring through observing the migration patterns of animals in their area. Then share their field observations with classmates across North America. U.S. Antarctica Program Find out what s going on in Antarctica, including webcam of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. 12

14 ENTERTAINMENT

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