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Arctic Animals: The Walrus Lesson and Activities for Kindergarten

By Willa

This lesson is part of a series of Arctic Animals for Kindergarten through first grade. Focusing on the walrus, the children will learn by listening to stories and interacting with phonics and math activities.

Circle Time: Meet the Walrus

Recap briefly, the Arctic region on the map and some of the animals that live there. Introduce the walrus by discussing that his body is specially created to survive the extremely cold winters. Just like the polar bear, the walrus is insulated with blubber. He has tiny ears, small eyes, whiskers, flippers and ivory tusks. Remind the class how the tiny ears stay warmer than large ears. The two sets of flippers, front and back, help the walrus swim and waddle on land. The ivory tusks are used to help the walrus climb out of the water and onto the ice. They're also used to dig for clams, which are the walrus' favorite food. Read the book, Walrus: On Location, by Tara Darling. These colorful pages will inform the children on how important the walrus was for the survival of the people in the polar region. The walrus is now considered endangered and protected.

Phonics: Beginning Sounds

Gather the children in a large circle and sit on the floor. Explain that the walrus starts with the letter "w", and it is a consonant. Demonstrate how to clap, then snap in rhythm, as each child is encouraged to say a word that begins with the letter "w". This develops not only phonics awareness of beginning sounds, but social and fine motor skills.

Math: Adding

Use this interactive activity to introduce the concept of addition. Use number flashcards to review the number family being learned, such as 20 - 30. As each child answers correctly, he or she "waddles" like a walrus to the front of the classroom. The next child answers and joins the first child. The class then counts, "one plus one is two". As each child is called to answer the flashcard, he or she "waddles" up, everyone counts and adds until each child has had a turn. Everyone then "waddles" back to their seat.

Suggested reading:

Little Walrus Warning, by Carol Young and Walter Stuart

Very Worried Walrus, by Richard Hefter

Little Walrus Saves the Day, by Carol Young

Wally, the Lost Baby Walrus, by Chris Kiana and Minnie Kiana Morken