Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pp Penguin

Today we finished our Pp Penguin unit--and journeyed to Antarctica along the way!

We started off our unit with a non-fiction book called The Emperor Lays an Egg, then moved on to March of the Penguins. No, we had never seen this before; yes, I realize we are probably the only family in the United States who hadn't; and yes, we now completely understand all the hype associated with it. Whatever the next step up from excellent is, that's what it was! I was amazed at how devoted the father penguins are, going without food for months and sometimes even dying as they stand in the freezing cold, caring for their treasured eggs and trying to keep them warm so they can reach maturity. And I get grumpy if my kids cause me to miss Dancing with the Stars?! Geez.

I also checked out Happy Feet, which is a movie about a tap-dancing penguin. At least that's what I think it's about. We couldn't watch it because someone was screaming too loudly since apparently cute little cartoon tap-dancing penguins are incredibly frightening! (It's moments like this when that PSA from the 80's echoes in my head: "Count to 10. Take hold of yourself before you take hold of your child.") I guess between this experience and the experience we had during our Hh Horse unit, I'm learning to just stick with books unless I find a documentary-type movie. Speaking of books, some of our fiction favorites this week included Whiteblack the Penguin, The Adventures of Marco and Polo, Flip and Flop, and Sergio Makes a Splash.

This unit was very rich in science! Not only did we study penguins themselves, but we also made icebergs by freezing water in ziploc bags. The next morning, we filled the bathtub with water and placed our icebergs in it so the girls could see that, although we only see the part on top of the water, there is still a lot of ice beneath the surface. Hannah got Millie's Little People seal and polar bear and let them take rides on the icebergs.

I told Hannah that we must have made North Pole icebergs if we have seals and polar bears roaming around on them because polar bears don't live in Antarctica. I find it interesting that, although they enjoy a similar climate, polar bears and penguins don't cohabitate. I truly feel like this is God's way of protecting penguins. Otherwise, these devoted creatures who stand so still while warming their eggs would be completely wiped out by hungry polar bears in search of an easy meal!

We pulled out the globe one day and found several areas where penguins live, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands. We used the blue arrows on the globe that mark ocean currents (never knew those were there before this week!) to track the cold water currents. This explained how some of these areas that seem too far north are still perfectly suited for penguins.

For one of our projects, we made an adorable penguin out of a black balloon. I would love to show you a picture of it; however, when you're a balloon animal living in a house under construction with two little girls who have very lax rules while said house is being rebuilt, your life span is very short. Rest in peace, little penguin!

Here is another one of her projects that was better able to survive our current environment. It's a painting of a penguin standing on a pile of snow during a blizzard. Notice the egg resting on his feet.

Those were the only "official" school projects we did this week, but Hannah came up with one on her own that I thought was great! Millie had her well-child exam this week; and while we were waiting to see Dr. Brown, Hannah made up the following story and asked me to write it down while she told it to me:

Penguin Finds a Home

Once upon a time, there was a penguin who didn't know what home it could live in. He found an iceberg that had a little door. But yikes! There was a polar bear inside! Then he saw an igloo. He went inside. Nobody was in there. He sat at the table, and he had a nice meal of fish. The End.

Awww...cute, huh?! I thought that could really be a fun children's book if someone elaborated on it and had the penguin make several attempts to find a home before finally finding the cozy igloo.

Our special words this week were "I show love to everyone, especially my family."

Apparently Hannah really spent some time thinking about these words. The following letter which I mailed to my dad today explains it all:

Dear Dad,

Please forgive that this letter is typed and not handwritten. It’s much faster this way, and time efficiency is a lifesaver these days!!! Just wanted to give you a quick explanation of what’s in this envelope.

Hannah is studying penguins this week. We learned a lot about Emperor penguins and the role the dad plays in caring for the young. The female lays the egg, then she goes back to the sea while the dad stays on land with the egg resting safely on his feet, nestled under his belly flap so it will stay warm. The father doesn’t eat during this entire time, which, by the way, is two months! Even after the chick is born, he still stays with it for another month, letting it rest on his feet under his belly flap so it can survive the elements. The mom eventually comes back when the chick is about a month old so she can have a turn taking care of it. By this time the father is starving and has lost half of his body weight.

That led to a conversation about what a good father the Emperor penguin is to take care of his baby like that.

That led to our special words for the week, which are “I will show love to everyone, especially my family.” We read a couple of Bible verses about not doing things for selfish reasons, but being humble and considering others better than yourself. We talked about several practical applications of this verse (none of which related to your birthday).

Then Hannah said, “I want to get Grandpa a birthday present!” I said, “Baby, his birthday was yesterday.” She said, “So! I’m trying to think about someone else and how I can put someone else first.” How could I argue with that?! So she grabbed her piggy bank and we loaded up and headed for Wal-Mart, where she picked out a present for you all by herself and used her money to pay for it. It was really neat. On the way home we talked about the expression “It is better to give than to receive,” and Hannah said she thought it was more fun to buy a present for you than to get one herself.

I thought it was a really neat experience and wanted to (1) share it with you, and (2) explain why you’re getting a random package in the mail!!!

Much love to both of you!!

Greg, Jen, Hannah & Camille

I love it when God gives us moments like this when we can see the fruits of our labor!

Praising the God of Encouragement,

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I'm serious about you making the rest of us look bad!!! Ice bergs?? I mean, seriously!!! You are too much!!! (You know I love you!!!)