"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million." -Walter Streightiff

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Arctic Expedition

We went on an Arctic Expedition to the area around the North Pole. We pretended to be Eskimos or, Inuit, as they call themselves. One Inuit person is called an Inuk.

We read Mama Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, which gave us some good ideas about how Inuit live.
We went ice fishing in the frigid, cold waters of the Arctic. We had to cut a hole in the ice to drop our fishing lines down into the water. We pretended by using a bucket and having to drop in a string with a magnet tied to the end of it. The fish we caught were salmon with letters printed on their scales. We named the letters on the fish and some of us thought of words that started with those letters. 
Many times when hunting or ice fishing, Inuit must jump from ice floe to ice floe to keep from falling in the cold Arctic water. We practiced this skill by using aluminum foil sheets cut into ice floe shapes.  We laid them in a pattern such as a circle or oval and placed them close enough together so they we could easily jump from one to the next.
We read The Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. 
Image result for fiddler of the northern lights
We created northern lights of our own by rubber banding different colors of cellophane over flashlights. In a darkened room, we shined the lights on the ceiling.
What an amazing display of color!
To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, we sang:
Twinkle, twinkle northern lights,

Shining in the the Arctic night,
Up above the world so high
Amazing colors in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle northern lights,
Shining in the Arctic night.

Many Inuit travel through the snow by dog-sled.
We sang a song about sledding in the Arctic as we slid down the slide, to the tune of “Three Little Monkeys”:

Three little Inuits sliding on a sled
(Hold up three fingers; raise above head and then bring down as in “sledding down a hill”)
One fell off and bumped his (her) head (hand to head)
Mama (Papa) called the Medicine Man (hands to mouth as in hollering)
The Medicine Man said, “No more Inuits sliding on the sled!” (point and shake finger)
Two little...One little...
We read The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett. It's an arctic version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". 

Polar bears live in the far north. The Inuit call them "Nanook". We went on a polar bear hunt!
They are the most dangerous animal of the Arctic so we had to be very careful.

(Tune: Goin’ on a Lion Hunt)
Sit with legs crossed.
Leader chants, partner repeats:
Put on your mittens (dramatize)
Put on your parka.
Don’t forget your mukluks.
Let’s go!
Hunting for a polar bear
(clap hands, slap legs, alternately)
Gonna catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
‘Cause I’m an Inuk of the Arctic!
Look! (point)
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it.
Get on your dog sled. Mush.
(Pretend to hold reins. Shake hands, bump up and down over the snow)
Repeat Chorus
It’s a stream!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta swim it.
(make swimming motions with hands)
Brrr! It’s so cold.
Repeat Chorus
Look! It’s the Arctic Ocean!
Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gonna have to row it.
Climb in your umiak.
Let’s go! (make rowing motions with arms)
Repeat Chorus
Look! It’s an iceberg.
Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta climb it.
(make climbing motions with hands)
Whoa! It’s slippery.
Repeat Chorus
It’s an underwater cave.
Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go around it.
Gotta go in it.
Ooooh! It’s dark in here. (dramatize)
I can’t see a thing.
Except two gleaming eyes.
I feel a cold nose.
I feel a furry body.
It’s a polar bear!
(Clap hands and slap legs, alternately- fast!)
Climb the iceberg! (dramatize)
Row your umiak!
Swim the stream! Brrrr!
Get in your sled and go over the snow! Mush!
Whew, we made it.
There’s our igloo.
Hurry inside.
Hunting for a polar bear (clap hands, slap legs, quietly)
Gonna catch a big one.
I’m not afraid.
‘Cause I’m asleep!

Their fur is white, so they blend in with the snow, but their skin is actually black. To illustrate this, we had polar bear shapes cut from black construction paper or tagboard. We dipped a cottonball in white paint to cover the polar bears.
The Arctic is one of the coldest places on earth. Much of it is covered with ice. An Inuit artist might even paint with ice. We gave it a try. We mixed liquid tempera with a few drops of water and poured it into ice cube trays or small cups. A popsicle stick was added to each cube and frozen until firm. When completely frozen, we painted on heavy paper with our colorful cubes of ice.
One of our favorite activities of the week was at our water play table. We played in ice much like the frozen tundra of the arctic. To help with our imaginative play, we had arctic animals splashing in the fishing holes, sliding on the ice and jumping from ice floe to ice floe. 
An igloo is a house made of snow which is a traditional home to the Inuk. We used sugar cubes to try and create what an igloo might be like and to be empathetic to the hard work that went into building a real igloo. Some of us got pretty creative...
We did an experiment to show how the mammals that swim in the Arctic Ocean, like whales, walruses and polar bears, stay warm. We had a "blubber mitt- a reclosable baggie filled with shortening to represent the blubber. We had a bowl filled with water and ice cubes. We tested the water to see how it felt. It was freezing cold! After drying our hands, we took turns slipping the blubber mitt on a hand and trying the cold water again. It was much more comfortable with the “blubber mitt”. Mammals that live in the Arctic Ocean have a layer of blubber or fat that keeps them warm as they swim in the icy water.
To reinforce the names of Arctic animals, we had a session of "Arctic Yoga". We went through a series of traditional yoga poses that represented animals of the Arctic. Take a look at our poses and see if you can guess what Arctic animal we are being.
When Inuit hunt and kill a whale, there is a big celebration. The whale meat can feed many people of the village. The other parts of the whale are used also. The bones are used for spear heads or are covered with animal skins to make an umiak or boat. The blubber is used for food and fuel. Nothing goes to waste. Inuit might use one of the whale’s teeth to make a necklace to wear and to show pride in a successful hunt.
We went on a whale hunt. We sang a traditional Inuit hunting song as we paddled in our umiaks:

Ah ta ka ta nuva
Ah ta ka ta nuva
Ay mis a day
Mis a do a mis a day.
Ah ta ka ta nuva
Ah ta ka ta nuva
Ay mis a day
Mis a do a mis a day.

Hex a col a mis a wa ta
Hex a col a mis a wa ta
Hex a col a mis a wa ta

Ah ta ka ta nuva
Ah ta ka ta nuva
Ay mis a day
Mis a do a mis a day.

We made a whale tooth necklace of our own. The “teeth” were made out of plaster and water mixed to the consistency of toothpaste. Inuit might carve a picture on the tooth. When dry, we used markers to decorate the "tooth" and added lacing so we could wear it around our necks. 
We added beads to both sides of the lacing and when finished, we wore our "whale tooth" necklaces with pride in our accomplishment!

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