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Polar Chains and Webs

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Penguins are waddling and polar bears are meandering. Where are they going? What are they looking for? When I was in Antarctica and on the icebreaker USCGC Healy in the Arctic, I had the thrill of seeing wildlife in their natural habitats. Other than an occasional siesta, these animals were on the move. Why?

Pretend someone asks you where the Arctic and Antarctica are located on a globe or map and asks you what animals live at each of these Polar Regions. Next they want to know what these animals do and what they eat. “What animals do polar bears hunt? What do penguins eat?” you are asked. You then explain the food chain of either penguins or polar bears and go on to discuss the food web. During this discussion you explain the similarities and differences of the Arctic and Antarctica.

· Poster paper and markers

· Model supplies (individually determined by each team)

In this activity you and a partner will use the Internet and other resources to investigate the similarities and differences of Arctic and Antarctic animal life and their food chains and webs. In the process, you will learn about the physical characteristics of each of these Polar Regions.

Your team will use your findings to make a “Similarities-Differences” list of the animal life in the Arctic and Antarctic. Then you will make a model of a food chain for either polar bears or penguins. You will use poster paper and markers to design a food web for your polar bear or penguin. Your team will use your model and poster to present your findings to the class.

Discussions Questions/Extensions ......
Discuss the similarities and differences of the physical conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic. How do these similarities and differences influence the animal life at each of these regions?

How are the food chains and webs similar in the Arctic and Antarctic? Why? How are they different? Explain why?

Elaborate on the geographic locations of polar bears and penguins how it addresses their survival. Describe their food chains and webs and explain how their geographic locations support them. How might global warming impact these chains and webs?

We look forward to hearing from you! Please review this activity.

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