Those Crazy Penguins!

Grade level: K-3

This is an integrated unit about penguins and it makes a fantastic winter theme. It is a very simple task to integrate these ideas into your whole curriculum. Many children are interested in penguins and excited to learn about how they live. There are many wonderful books and materials available to extend these ideas.

This unit can be integrated into your lesson plans. Many of the activities detailed here can be performed as whole group activities. The books and information can be read as part of the guided reading block, whether done as a class, in pairs or individually. Many of the art, research and math activities can be done in centers or as part of writers workshops.

Students will explore penguin life and expand their knowledge of penguins to include different types of penguins, their behavior, habitat, communication, reproduction, diet, eating habits and conservation.

The student will:

  1. Know the names of at least X penguins. The number X varies with grade level.
  2. Compare sizes and physical characteristics that distinguish one group of penguins from another.
  3. Identify penguins that live in warm climates and also penguins that live in cold climates.
  4. Explain how penguins gather food, feed their chicks, and protect their chicks and themselves from predators. They will also explain penguin life cycles.

Literature Resources


For your youngest students:

As A Class

For older or more independent students:



Make paper mache' penguins. Try creating an egg-shape made by paper-mache'ing over a medium oval balloon. When it is dry, painted to show face, chest, and feet. Hang from a string or attach to cardboard (and add feet) after it has dried.


The culminating activity can be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. Do the students' reports contain information that shows an understanding of their topics?
  2. As you read each book, ask for comments and feedback, especially if the student-made book allowed readers to increase their knowledge and understanding of penguins, the different types of penguins, and the various characteristics of penguins.
  3. Listen to student discussions, do students' express their expanded knowledge about penguins.

Penguin Links