Kidzeum Explores Antarctica!
By Beth Muselwhite
Students at Grenada Elementary School will embark upon a visit to “The Land of Ice,” Antarctica, during the first exhibit of 2012 in the Kidzeum. The exhibit focuses upon the weather, inhabitants, and unique features of this continent, the fifth largest on Earth. Antarctica is the size of the United States and Mexico put together, with the South Pole positioned almost at its center. A region owned by no specific country, yet between one thousand and four thousand scientists and support personnel from many different countries visit Antartica each year for research.
Children at GES explore the reasons for six months of daylight and six months of darkness using a portable planetarium called StarLab, developed by a Harvard professor. Inside the StarLab, students experience a projection of the entire terrestrial globe including all of the Earth’s continents and oceans. As sunlight is beamed on the planetarium’s walls, children learn to visualize how the continent experiences total darkness in winter and total sunlight in summer.
Another hands-on activity conducted in the Antarctica exhibit includes using thermometers to measure the temperatures of water. Students also learn some of the penguin survival skills such as passing the egg and huddling together for warmth by using life-size models of the native Antarctic penguin. The children use magnifying glasses to determine the differences between the feathers of penguins and birds they see each day and will conduct experiments to learn how blubber is effective against the cold and why it is so important for Antarctic animals.