Blubber!

So, I “needed” to complete the ice bucket challenge today and was not about to dump a bucket of cold ice water on my head. Sorry for being a party pooper, but there you go. I decided instead to think of a way to integrate the idea of the ice bucket into our lessons today. L’s been super interested in ocean animals lately, so I landed on the idea of… polar bears!

We began our morning with some reading. L read me all of a National Geographic Reader on Polar Bears, as well as portions of Polar Bears by Gail Gibbons.

Side note: We ADORE Gail Gibbons! What a strong narrative voice she brings to non-fiction texts. She incorporates features of non-fiction text such as vocabulary, diagrams, and text structures without it feeling like a textbook. You know, they’re the types of books that you actually want to read!

She then watched the episode of Jim Henson’s The Animal Show featuring racoons and polar bears while I got ready for the day (had meetings at work mid-day). We then moved into the kitchen table where we talked about the idea of blubber. She was familiar with it from her readings, so we decided that we weren’t going to do an experiment (since she knew what blubber did already). Instead, we would do a demonstration.

We took two plastic baggies, one inside the other, and taped them together at the top. This was our “human hand” with no blubber. We then took another bag, put several scoops of shortening (vegan, of course!) in it, a bag inside it, and tape to seal the tops of those bags. This was our “polar bear paw”.

We talked a lot about how the outside bag was the outer skin and our hand inside the bag was the muscles and bones inside our body. The difference was that in the polar bear paw, there was a layer of blubber between the skin and the muscle/bone, while in the human hand, there was no blubber layer between.

"Human hand" on the left hand, "Polar bear paw" on the right

“Human hand” on the left hand, “Polar bear paw” on the right

She then spent quite awhile splashing around and talking about how warm and toasty her polar bear paw was! I did, in fact, film my ice bucket challenge (https://www.facebook.com/brandelyn/posts/10100977405279166). L also made a video about blubber. However, she says her name and her face is featured prominently in it. Since this blog is open to the world, we’ve decided to engage in at least a little bit of privacy protection. Facebook friends will find it online. It’s pretty cute.

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