"Travel stories teach geography; insect stories lead the child into natural science; and so on. The teacher, in short, can use reading to introduce her pupils to the most varied subjects; and the moment they have been thus started, they can go on to any limit guided by the single passion for reading."
- Maria Montessori
Hi, everyone! Welcome to a Montessori Continent Study for the Primary (preschool) years. Prior to this, we've been exploring land and water, including some landforms. This is an excellent unit for kids to participate in as they move on to learning about the continents. Kids will learn all about the animals of Antarctica while experiencing an interdisciplinary unit.
Interested in a geography unit for preschool and elementary? Check out this Oceania and coral reef unit.
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What is a Montessori Continent Study?
Continent Studies are part of the Montessori cultural curriculum. We begin each year with an introduction to the big picture of physical geography, and slowly narrow our focus to the continents.
What are the Biomes of Antarctica?
When beginning an Introduction to the Biomes, Antarctica is a great continent to start with. The polar regions of Antarctica comprise the sole biome for this continent, unlike the other six continents, which consist of several biomes each.
Also, our children are very interested in marine life, so this unit study is a lot of fun for them.
Free Pre-K & Kindergarten Homeschool Course
Would you like to learn more about how to homeschool your preschooler or kindergartener the Montessori way?
This 8-week course will provide parents and caregivers with a no-nonsense approach to homeschooling. You will learn how to homeschool using hands-on, child-centered, and diverse learning experiences.
This course covers ALL the relevant subjects. You'll receive information and insight that will help you identify what is best for your child. You'll also be introduced to plenty of free resources along the way.
Most importantly, you will walk away with the tools and resources you need to confidently begin your own homeschooling journey.
Animals of Antarctica: A Montessori Continent Study
We tend to spend about a month on this type of work, but that can easily change, depending on the level of interest and mastery of activities. This unit can also be used as a template for learning about all seven continents using the same curriculum resources.
Animals of Antarctica: Reference Books
- The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth - Great reference book with beautiful illustrations and it's organized by continent. You get an intro to ecosystems before learning about the characteristics of, benefits of, and threats to each ecosystem. Wraps up with some info about cycles in nature and human impact. Great resource for continent and biome work.
- Atlas of Animal Adventures - We gather around and enjoy this large resource as a family. The illustrations are attractive and very playful, and it visits several key locations on each continent for a diverse learning experience. Captivating for animal lovers.
- Atlas of Ocean Adventures - Another great atlas of stories with beautiful illustrations and captivating descriptions to keep kids interested with every turn of the page.
- Maps - There's a lot going on in this book! Each page is crammed full of illustrations, labeling, and some short descriptions. You'll discover geographical features, plants and animals, and culture as you peruse each continent and its countries. This is a great resource for sparking ideas and interest in various topics.
- Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature - An eclectic assortment of neat nature topics are presented in chart form. I tend to peruse this every time we explore a new topic and bookmark pertinent pages. Taxonomy, biodiversity, habitats, life at the ends of the earth, penguins, the blue whale, extraordinary hunters, and ocean layers are great charts to check out for studying Antarctica.
- Animalium: Welcome to the Museum - This large book allows kids to explore the animal kingdom through the beautiful artwork of Katie Scott.
- Whales: An Illustrated Celebration - The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful! The content covers the evolution of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), anatomy, habitat, behavior, human impact, etc. This is an awesome reference book and the illustrations generate a lot of interest in Antarctic mammals.
- Montessori Map Work - This board book (not so cleverly placed above) is great for an introduction to the continents. It includes tracing of each continent and a few native animals.
- Continents & Animals - Board book included with the continent and animals puzzle map.
Picture Books and Living Books
- The Blue Whale - We love this picture book! A great example of the "living books" that the Charlotte Mason approach incorporates. A young boy tells a story that provides lots of fun facts about the largest living creature on earth.
- See What a Seal Can Do - This is another excellent living book for us. It's a story about a seal that showcases this mammal's amazing abilities in the water (hunting, adaptation to deep water, etc.), and proves that there's much more to seals than what you see when they're lazily sunbathing on the sand or rocks. The illustrations are soft and sweet, making it a lovable story for all.
- Penguins and Antarctica - This Magic Tree House Non-Fiction Reader is a must-read. It's written from the perspective of two children, a brother and sister pair, and it's really informative with some black and white sketches included.
Animals of Antarctica and Exploration
- Shackleton's Journey - Beautiful watercolor illustrations and text tell a detailed story of Ernest Shackleton's journey to Antarctica
- Ernest Shackleton - Inspiring picture book with beautiful illustrations. Our kids love this series, both as read-aloud and independent readers.
- Who Was Ernest Shackleton? - Another biography of the Irish Antarctic Explorer during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
- Trial By Ice - A Photobiography of Shackleton's life and Antarctic expeditions. Cool photographs. This is great for adults and children.
Continent Activities and Shelf Work
- Map Projection Activity (FREE) from Let's Learn All About Maps! by The Center for Geography Education in Oregon.
- Comparison of Continent Globe to Continent Map - This Waseca Biomes Primary Continent Globe is beautiful and more durable than the smaller Land & Water Globe we use with our land & water works.
- Continents & Animals Puzzle Map- The continents are the traditional Montessori continent colors. On the cards accompanying the puzzle, the orca is classified and labeled as 'whale' but the orca can be classified more specifically as a dolphin. Since we don't usually refer to orcas as dolphins, we decided to write orca on our card.
A great printable alternative to the Continents and Animals Puzzle Map are these Animals of the World Continent Mats by Montessori Inspired Co. We have them in Spanish, thanks to the Multilingual Mega Bundle.
Save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
The Continent Song
- The Montessori Continent Song is a favorite in our home! Our 2.5 y.o. daughter is starting to learn this now. She proudly shouts out Africa and Asia whenever anyone sings it.
Animals of Antarctica: Language and Montessori Continent Box
- Antarctica Biome Cards - Intro to Antarctica's biome, animals, and people. There are many different animals for kids to explore from the small Antarctic krill to the seals and even humans.
- Biome Readers - Readers with more in-depth info from Biome Cards. These are excellent because they correspond with the sequence of the Waseca Reading Program. Incredible illustrations.
Save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
- Montessori Antarctica Continent Box - Great for collecting items representative of each continent. These are great for building up a collection over the years as our geography knowledge increases. They are also helping us organize our Schleich animal collection.
Montessori Continent Boxes
Explore every continent with these solid maple hardwood boxes.
- Antarctic Animals - Blue whale, Orca, Leopard Seal, and Emperor Penguin.
Here's an example of object-to-picture matching using the Schleich emperor penguin and leopard seal along with the Waseca Biomes Antarctica biome cards.
Kids can compare a variety of penguins in Antarctica, including the macaroni penguin, Adelie penguin, and emperor penguin.
Seals are a favorite in our home and there are many opportunities to learn about them using these materials. The Antarctica biome cards include information about the leopard seal, crabeater seal, and elephant seal.
The back of the Antarctica biome cards for primary include a description and the symbols associated with the card. In this case, it is the continent of Antarctica, the polar region, and the mammal classification symbols on the three-part cards for the leopard seal.
Continent Puzzle, Passport, and Field Notes
- Antarctica Biome Puzzle - Used as a puzzle and for tracing work in biome and continent studies.
- Stamping our Passport - Color-coded stamps of each continent will appear on our children's passports as they make their journey across the globe.
- Animal Research Field Notes (FREE) - Biome stamps denote the continent, biome, and class of vertebrate or invertebrate for each animal studied. We will do as a family with our toddler and early reader.
Save $15 on your first Waseca Biomes purchase here.
Animals of Antarctica: Printable Activities
- Penguin Life Cycle Flowchart (FREE)
- The Food Web of Antarctica Flowchart (FREE)
- Antarctica A - Z Fact Pages
- Penguin Life Cycle 3 Part Cards (FREE)
- Parts of a Penguin 3 Part Cards
- Parts of a Whale 3 Part Cards (FREE)
- Plant vs. Animal Sorting
- Living vs. Non-Living Sorting
Depending on whether you decide to print on cardstock, laminate, or add velcro to the food web and life cycle, the preparation time for these Antarctica activities will vary.
Montessori Penguin Puzzle
- Montessori Penguin Puzzle - This a great puzzle alone and it pairs well with our Parts of a Penguin 3 Part Cards (listed above).
Coloring and Activity Books
- Maps Activity Book - This is such a captivating, quirky resource for coloring and drawing inspiration. Both the book and this activity book are a lot of fun.
- Animalium Activity Book - This book has great art activities and incorporates some simple math and sorting.
The activities in these books can be adapted to add a control of error as needed or kids can use the art opportunities alone. They can also be compared with the books of the same name for additional control of error.
Free Antarctic Explorer Recipe
Don't forget to grab your free kid-friendly Antarctic expedition recipe above. Children can gather ingredients using the ingredient list, gather their equipment using the tools list, and prepare the meal using the step-by-step recipe cards, with assistance as needed. The cards are easy to use, they include pictures, and they encourage confidence and independence in the kitchen.
Conclusion for Animals of Antarctica: A Montessori Continent Study
Our little ones really enjoy the Antarctica activities for this Montessori continent study, and they're genuinely excited about every material and book. There's something that's just so fascinating about Antarctica and we can't get enough of it! Special thanks to Trillium Montessori for the awesome printables.
More Unit Studies
- Prehistoric Animal & Dinosaur Activities
- Bee Activities for Preschool & Elementary
- Community Helpers Unit
- Grace and Courtesy
- Solar System
Thanks for stopping by!
- The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth
- Atlas of Animal Adventures
- Atlas of Ocean Adventures
- Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature
- Whales: An Illustrated Celebration
- Animalium: Welcome to the Museum
- Montessori Map Work
- Continents & Animals
- The Blue Whale
- See What a Seal Can Do
- Penguins and Antarctica
- Ernest Shackleton
- Shackleton's Journey
- Who Was Ernest Shackleton?
- Trial by Ice
- Maps Activity book
- Animalium Activity Book
- Waseca Biomes Introduction to the Biomes
- Waseca Biomes Continent Globe
- Waseca Biomes Antarctica Biome Cards
- Waseca Biomes Antarctica Biome Readers
- Waseca Biomes Antarctica Biome Puzzle
- Waseca Biomes Passports and Biome Stamps
- Waseca Biomes Animal Research Field Notes printable (FREE)
- Ink Pad
- Device for viewing The Continent Song
- Map Projection Activity (FREE)
- 1 orange
- Continents & Animals Puzzle Map
- Montessori Continent Box - Antarctica
- Antarctic Animals: Blue Whale, Orca, Seal, Emperor Penguin
- Montessori Penguin Puzzle
- Penguin Life Cycle Flow Chart printable (FREE)
- Food web of Antarctica Flow Chart (FREE)
- Antarctica A-to-Z Fact Pages
- Penguin Life Cycle Three-Part Cards (FREE)
- Parts of a Penguin Three-Part Cards
- Parts of a Whale Three-Part Cards (FREE)
- Plant or Animal Sorting
- Living or Non-Living Sorting
- See Materials List
- Introduce Map Projection Activity and assist child as needed. Use the orange to learn about the relationship between a globe and a map.
- Introduce the Continents and Animals Puzzle Map, Follow-up with the matching cards and book as the child shows interest.
- Compare Continent Globe to Continent Puzzle Map or similar. It works best if the continents are the same colors on the globe and map. Use the Atlas of Animal Adventures, the Maps atlas, and Montessori Map Work to extend the learning opportunities.
- Learn the Continent Song. Watch the link and sing along with your child. Allow plenty of opportunities for repetition as you all practice the melody and the continents.
- Provide Language materials such as the Antarctica Biome Cards and Biome Readers. Use the included presentation guides for lessons and extensions.
- Keep a Montessori continent box available for adding items associated with Antarctica, such as the Antarctic animals. Keep the continent box accessible for plenty of opportunities for open-ended play and discovering/adding new items.
- Introduce the Antarctica Biome Puzzle and use included guide for presentation and extension ideas.
- Use the Biome Stamps and printable passport to create a passport that documents your journey to Antarctica. Encourage the child to stamp the passport, providing assistance as needed.
- Print the Animal Research Field Notes to document new information about animals the children show interest in. If the child is not yet writing, model this activity and complete with the child.
- Introduce the Life Cycle of a Penguin Flow Chart and Three Part Cards shelf work.
- Encourage the child to cut the A-Z Fact Pages for read-aloud and/or matching. They can also be added to additional Language shelf work activities in your homeschool.
- Introduce Parts of a Penguin and Parts of a Whale Three Part Cards as the child shows interest.
- Encourage experiences with Plant vs. Animal and Living vs. Non-Living Sorting work.
- Introduce the Montessori Penguin Puzzle. The puzzle can be used alone or paired with the Parts of a Penguin Three Part Cards.
- Assist the child as needed in finding interesting work from the Maps or Animalium Activity Books. Pre-readers may want more assistance finding and completing an activity.
- Extend the learning with the reference books, picture books, and explorer biographies.
Full Lesson Info and Pictures at: https://happyhomeschooladventures.com/montessori-continent-studies-antarctica/