Arctic Animals of Alaska
The Arctic is covered with ice and snow for most of the year. Animals that live in Alaska's Arctic region must be able to survive long winters and very cold temperatures. These animals have bodies that are designed to live in this world of ice and snow. Surprisingly, many animals live in this cold, harsh climate. Let's learn about these animals of the Far North.
You have been asked to help the park rangers at Denali National Park in Alaska. They need your help in making a guide to the many types of Alaskan animals living in the park. This guide will be included in a brochure given out to park visitors.
In this activity you will learn about many Arctic animals and how their bodies provide them with special protection from the cold of an Alaskan winter. After learning about several animals, you will choose an animal to write a report about. You will have an opportunity to share your report with a small group or with your class before turning it in to your teacher for the Denali National Park guide to Arctic animals.
Alaska is the northernmost and largest state of the United States. It is the only state that is separated from the rest of the states by another country.
To learn more about Denali National Park, take a look at some of these activities:
Activity 1 - Learn About the Geography of Alaska
Would you like to see a map of Alaska?
At this site, search for Alaska
Activity 2 - Read About Alaska's Arctic Animals
The caribou, or reindeer, has two layers of fur. Except for a small area around its eyes and lips, its entire body is covered with fur. Both male and female caribou have antlers. A caribou can weigh up to 700 pounds and stands 4 to 5 feet tall. Caribou travel in large groups called a herd. The herds live in one place in the summer and move, or migrate, to another place in the winter.
The musk ox has a large body, short legs,and great big curved horns.The fur is sometimes 3 feet long. The musk ox has a thick layer of fat and a very long, shaggy coat which is waterproof. This coat protects it from cold, snow, and rain.
The polar bear has a thick white fur coat. A layer of blubber helps protect it from the cold. It is an excellent swimmer. The polar bear's white fur makes it almost invisible against the snow. As a bear sneaks up on a meal, it sometimes covers its black nose with its paw to hide itself.
A ptarmigan is a bird. In summer, its feathers are brown. They change to white as winter approaches. This white color helps the ptarmigan to blend into the snowy background and protects it from being spotted by its enemies.
The Arctic fox also changes color with the seasons. In the winter it is white and blends in with the snow. In the summer it is brown and blends in with the grasses. This is called camouflage. Changing color helps the Arctic fox to hide and also makes it easier for it to sneak up on prey.
Would you like to look at more pictures of Alaska's Arctic Animals?
Continue to access Just for Kids, Kids Page, and Alaskan Animals under the Education Link.
To learn more about Polar Bears:
Activity 3 - Write a Poem
Choose one of the Arctic animals you have just read about and write a poem about it. Some forms of poetry you may wish to use are a cinquain, acrostic or a name poem. You can also try this form, called a "Definition" poem:
Would you like to learn more about moose?
Activity 4 - Write a Descriptive Report
1. Finding Resources
See if you can find out more information about one of them using the Internet, books, and encyclopedias:
2. Taking Notes
When you have selected an animal and located information about it, begin to take notes about this animal using the boxes below:
|NAME OF ANIMAL
|DESCRIBE THE ANIMAL
(Color, Size, Shape, Appearance)
|FOOD IT EATS
|HOME IT HAS
3. Writing Paragraphs to Make a Report
After taking notes, use the key words to help you write a topic sentence for each box. A topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph. Next, write six paragraphs (one for each box) including detail sentences that help to develop the main idea you have given in the topic sentence by adding facts, examples, details, and reasons. Each paragraph should include at least three detail sentences. Finally, write a "clincher" sentence, the last sentence in the paragraph, which will sum up the main idea.
4. Drawing a Picture
Last, draw a picture of the animal in its habitat, which is the place where the animal makes its home.
5. Sharing the Report
Share your Arctic animal report and drawing with a small group or with your class.
When you are done with your report, ask yourself these questions to make sure your report is ready to share with your small group or class:
You have learned about animals that live in Alaska's Arctic region. How do the animals use their habitat to survive (or live in) the cold and icy Arctic?
Notes to the Teacher
Lesson Title: Arctic Animals of Alaska
Curricular Area: Geography, Language Arts, Science
History/Social Studies Framework: Developing social skills and responsibilities, and expanding children's geographic world.
Grade Level: 1-2
History/Social Studies, Grades 1 & 2: Students compare and contrast relative location of people, places and things.
Language Arts, Grades 1 & 2: Reading Comprehension - 2.0 - Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They draw upon a variety of comprehension strategies as needed, including generating and responding to essential questions, making predictions, and comparing information from several sources.
Writing Strategies -1.0 - Students write clear and coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing considers audience and purpose. They successfully use the stages of the writing process (i.e., pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing successive versions).
Written and Oral English - 1.0 - Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions that are appropriate to each grade level.
History-Social Science Goals and Curriculum Strands (excerpted from the California State History-Social Science Framework, CA Dept. of Ed., 1988)
1. Geographic Literacy:
- Develop an awareness of place
- Understand world regions
Visual and Performing Arts component for Visual Arts: (excerpted from the California State Visual and Performing Arts Framework, CA Dept. of Ed., 1996)
1. Artistic Perception: Use imaginative techniques and methods to illustrate what they see in the natural world.
2. Creative Expression: Create original artworks based on personal experiences or responses.
Length of Lesson: 1-2 weeks
Sea World Education