Stories for Students

Reading about the Arctic and Antarctica is a worthwhile activity to include in your school’s polar festival. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will help students develop content knowledge and can complement hands-on investigations.

In this article, we’ve included links to the Feature Stories from the past seven issues of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears. Our stories are available at K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 grade levels in three formats:

  • Text only: A pdf file that includes only the text and a glossary. This prints as an 8.5″ by 11″ handout and is 2-4 pages in length.
  • Illustrated book: A full-color pdf file that can be printed, cut, and folded to form a 2 1/8″ by 2 3/4″ book. Each book contains color photographs and illustrations; some books contain activity pages.
  • Electronic book: Onscreen versions of the books, accessible from the Content Clips web site. Recorded narration allows students to listen to the story as they read along on the screen. Highlighted vocabulary words have individually recorded definitions so that students can hear the definition with a single click.

For each story, we’ve included an overview of the content and a link to the original article and its related activities. We’ve also included direct links to all grade levels and formats.

Read about: polar geography, polar dinosaurs, the aurora, Antarctica’s weather and climate, ice, polar geology, and solar energy.


 

Polar Geography

The Top (and Bottom) of the World
by Stephen Whitt

In this story, students explore the geographic uniqueness of the North and South Poles. This story is available for grades 4-5 only. The original magazine article includes related activities.

Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

The Arctic and Antarctica: Are They the Same, or Different?
by Jessica Fries-Gaither

In these stories, students compare and contrast the polar regions. Available for grades 1-2 and 3-5.

Grades 1-2 Text Only Grades 1-2 Illustrated Book Grades 1-2 Electronic Book
Grades 3-5 Text Only Grades 3-5 Illustrated Book Grades 3-5 Electronic Book

 

Polar Dinosaurs

Dinos in the Dark
by Stephen Whitt, Jessica Fries-Gaither

These stories introduce students to the dinosaurs found near the polar regions and discuss the adaptations that allowed these dinosaurs to survive in a dark and cold environment. The original magazine article includes related activities.

Grades K-1 Text Only Grades K-1 Illustrated Book Grades K-1 Electronic Book
Grades 2-3 Text Only Grades 2-3 Illustrated Book Grades 2-3 Electronic Book
Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

 

Aurora

The Aurora: Fire in the Sky
by Stephen Whitt

Colors in the Night Sky: The Aurora
by Jessica Fries-Gaither

These stories introduce students to the colorful phenomenon known as the northern lights (aurora borealis) and the southern lights (aurora australis). In Fire in the Sky, students in grades 4-5 explore the cause of the aurora. Colors in the Night Sky, written for students in grades K-1 and 2-3, introduces the aurora in a simplified manner. The original magazine article includes related activities.

Grades K-1 Text Only Grades K-1 Illustrated Book Grades K-1 Electronic Book
Grades 2-3 Text Only Grades 2-3 Illustrated Book Grades 2-3 Electronic Book
Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

 

Antarctica’s Weather and Climate

Antarctica: King of Cold
by Stephen Whitt, Jessica Fries-Gaither, Nancy Brannon

These stories explain that while both the Arctic and Antarctica are cold, Antarctica is much colder and drier – a polar desert. The original magazine article includes related activities.

Grades K-1 Text Only Grades K-1 Illustrated Book Grades K-1 Electronic Book
Grades 2-3 Text Only Grades 2-3 Illustrated Book Grades 2-3 Electronic Book
Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

 

Ice

Growing Floaters and Shrinking Sinkers
by Stephen Whitt

Floating Ice
by Jessica Fries-Gaither

These stories discuss the unique property of ice – that it floats in liquid water. Students in grades 4-5 learn why this occurs; younger students focus on real-world examples and how ice is necessary for life in the polar regions. The original magazine article includes related activities.

Grades K-1 Text Only Grades K-1 Illustrated Book Grades K-1 Electronic Book
Grades 2-3 Text Only Grades 2-3 Illustrated Book Grades 2-3 Electronic Book
Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

 

Polar Geology

Reader of the Rocks
by Stephen Whitt, Jessica Fries-Gaither

Rocks Can Tell A Story
by Jessica Fries-Gaither

These stories introduce students to the discipline of geology, and specifically polar geology. Students in grades 2-3 and 4-5 meet Julie Codispoti, assistant curator of the U.S. Polar Rock Repository, and learn how she overcame an initial dislike of science to become a geologist. Students in grades K-1 learn that rocks, like books, can teach us about the world long ago. The original magazine article includes related activities and graphic organizers that help students master the strategy of determining importance in nonfiction text.

Grades K-1 Text Only Grades K-1 Illustrated Book Grades K-1 Electronic Book
Grades 2-3 Text Only Grades 2-3 Illustrated Book Grades 2-3 Electronic Book
Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

 

Solar Energy

The Shiniest Moon
by Stephen Whitt

Getting Warmer
by Jessica Fries-Gaither

These stories introduce students to solar energy’s role in warming the Earth’s land and water and to the fact that dark-colored surfaces absorb more of the Sun’s energy than do light-colored ones. Students in grades 4-5 also read about how the decline in Arctic sea ice is changing Earth’s energy balance. The original magazine article includes related activities and a graphic organizer that can help students take notes while reading.

Grades K-1 Text Only Grades K-1 Illustrated Book Grades K-1 Electronic Book
Grades 2-3 Text Only Grades 2-3 Illustrated Book Grades 2-3 Electronic Book
Grades 4-5 Text Only Grades 4-5 Illustrated Book Grades 4-5 Electronic Book

This article was written by Jessica Fries-Gaither. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Jessica at beyondpenguins@msteacher.org.

Copyright November 2008 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

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