Polar_Opposite.jpg

Polar Opposites

written and illustrated by Erik Brooks








Published by Marshall Cavendish © 2010
32 pg,
ISBN: 9780761456858

Author website: www.erikbrooks.com


Summary: Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks is an adorable book that teaches friends

aren’t always alike; they can be very different. Such is the case of the main characters

in this picture book. Alex and Zina are friends. Alex is a polar bear from the Arctic, and

Zina is a penguin from the Antarctic. They are Polar Opposites because they live on

opposite sides of the world, and they are also opposites in many other ways. Alex has

white shaggy fur, and Zina is black and smooth. Alex is messy, and Zina is neat. Alex is

loud, and Zina is quiet. Alex stays up late, and Zina rises early. Even though Alex and

Zina are so different, they are still best friends, and each year they agree to meet in the

middle, the Equator, for vacation!


Themes: Opposites, friendship

Interest Level: K-3

Accelerated Reader Level: 1.1


Activities:
Have each student design their own page for a class book. Let students choose their
medium for illustrating their picture.

Have younger students complete the Polar Opposites maze or color the picture of the
two friends, Alex and Zina (from Erik Brooks website).

Students create a new book cover after studying the book jacket progression sheet.

Students compare and contrast the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Students write a report on Arctic animals and their habitats.

Students will discover the different cultures of people who live in the Arctic region.

The Arctic vs. the Antarctic: Polar Opposites?


Activity: Students compare and contrast the two regions, creating a Venn diagram.

1. Have students locate the Antarctic on your classroom map.

2. If the North Pole is in the Arctic, what do they expect to find in the Antarctic?

3. Visit the site "North Pole/South Pole: Are They Different?" and have students create a Venn
diagram comparing and contrasting the two regions' geography, climate, flora and fauna, and so on.

4. Hang the diagram on the bulletin board, connecting it with colorful ribbon to the North Pole
and the South Pole on your world map.


Activity: Students learn about glaciers and other ice forms and create drawings of them.

1. The Arctic is covered with many kinds of ice, from glaciers to icebergs. Have children visit
the "Polar Ice" site to learn their different properties and how they are formed.

Activity: Students learn about the Arctic tundra and compare it to other ecosystems, then compose a
poem about this unique environment.

1. Review the definition of a biome, or ecosystem. If your class has not studied ecosystems
(groups of living things - plants and animals - and the environment in which they live), you can
use the term environment.

2. Ask students to name ecosystems they know, such as rain forests, deserts, and oceans.

3. Explain that the ecosystem in the Arctic is known as the tundra. Visit the "Tundra" site to learn
more about this biome. Ask students to describe the tundra. How is it different from other
ecosystems they've studied? Have them keep a list of descriptive words and phrases that come
up in your discussion.

4. Ask children to write a poem about the tundra using the words and phrases from their list.
Display their work on the Arctic bulletin board.

Activity: Students learn about glaciers and other ice forms and create drawings of them.

1. The Arctic is covered with many kinds of ice, from glaciers to icebergs. Have children visit
the "Polar Ice" site to learn their different properties and how they are formed.

2. Have students draw and label the characteristics of a specific type of ice form. Display the art
on the bulletin board.

Meet Arctic Animals


Activity: Class teams write a report on Arctic animals and their habitats.
1. Even though the Arctic is covered with ice, it is home to many kinds of animals. Have students
visit the sites listed below to learn about the region's wildlife, such as polar bears, arctic foxes,
caribou, and walruses.

2. Divide the class into small groups and ask them to choose an animal they'd like to research.
Have each group write a short report about the animal using the Web sites below, including
important information, such as its appearance, habitat, and diet, and any interesting facts
they discover. They should also describe one way that the creature has adapted to the cold
climate. Encourage them to illustrate their reports with a picture of the animal, labeling special
characteristics, such as the polar bear's white fur or the walrus's long tusks.

3. Have groups present their reports to the class and hang them on the Arctic bulletin board.

4. As a fun follow-up activity, play What Am I? A student gives three clues about an animal, and class members must guess the answer.

Meet the Native People of the Arctic


Activity: Students will discover the different cultures of people who live in the Arctic region.

1. For thousands of years, the Arctic has been home to many groups of people. Explore the sites
below to learn about their customs, art, and dance.

2. Have students choose a group of Arctic people they'd like to learn more about, such as the
Inuit, and use the Web site below for research. Encourage them to learn about the group's art,
traditions, and lifestyle. What holidays do they celebrate? What kind of clothing do they wear?
How do they get their food? And so on.

3. Invite students to use what they've learned about the native people in a creative writing
exercise. They could:
Write a journal entry from the point of view of an Eskimo girl or boy.
Pretend to be an Alaskan Yupik or Inupiaq child and write a letter to a friend describing
an exciting event, such as a celebration or a hunting trip.

4. “Ambrose, a polar bear, and Zina, a penguin, are very different but they can still find ways to
meet in the middle.” (Follett Titlewave)

5. This delightful picture book teaches many things all at once–the concept of opposites, some
basic geography (arctic, antarctic and equator), and the fact that people with widely different
tastes and habits can find common ground.

6. Younger children will easily grasp most of the opposites pairings such as push/pull and sour/
sweet. Older children will enjoy harvesting the more subtle differences between the polar bear
and the penguin as they scour the cheerful illustrations for clues.

7. Although it’s not explicitly stated, the pictures (created in pencil, charcoal, and watercolor)
make it clear that Ambrose and Zina are pen pals. This might be a fun book to read in
classrooms engaged in collaborative activities (writing letters, emailing, blogging) with
students from other parts of the world.

Created by Rita Shogren, ©2011