Our Penguin Mascot

Presented by: Lisa Herman

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


This lesson was created for third and / or fourth graders to provide them with a productive research experience. After researching one of 17 different penguin species of their choice, students will use what they have discovered and try to convince their classmates to vote for their penguin as the "Class Mascot!" They will work with a partner to create an advertisement highlighting their ideas. They will then give an oral presentation of their completed advertisement along with a "campaign" speech.

Goals & Objectives:

Instructional Goals:

Learning Objectives:

Motivational Goals:


Whiteboard, Computer, Projector, Student notebooks,


List of partner names, large chart tablet, Handout [see Supporting Files]


Advertisement sample [not included], Poster board


Laptops or computers, Internet access with Web browser


Print resources and online resources about penguins


Art materials-paper, crayons, markers, paint


Computer art software-Kidpix, HyperStudio, Paint, or Draw programs





  1. As students enter the library, there will be several penguins projected on the whiteboard titled: Which will be our Mascot?
  2. Give each student an information organizer, a KWHL chart. This chart is used for planning and gathering of initial information to aid students in research projects.
    1. K - Stands for helping students recall what they KNOW about the subject.
    2. W - Stands for helping students determine what they WANT to learn.
    3. L - Stands for helpin students identify what they LEARN as they read.
    4. H - Stands for HOW we can learn more (other sources where additional information on the topic can be found).
  3. Students will be prompted to complete this sentence in their notebook: A mascot is…                                         
  4. After several students share their sentence, a clear definition will be elicited, written, and read out loud.
  5. Concepts that students have been learning in science class about animal behaviors will be discussed briefly.
  6. It will be explained to students that they will work with a partner to learn more about a species of their choice. They will research their chosen species to find out the following:
    1. Students will list /record the variety of the species – noting their similarities and/or differences
  7. Each student will receive a handout. They will write their name and their partner’s name in the space provided, from a prearranged partner list.    
  8. Once students have done this planning they will begin to do their research. Students should be hunting for information that will answer the questions they want to know. Students could be directed to use Index of Penguins. They could use the information to begin their research.
  9. Encourage students to use as many different resources as possible, including online resources. It is important that students create  a bibliography stating where the information was located.  
  1. A picture gallery of penguin species from ChannelOne.com will be shown to students to pique their curiosity.
  2. Students will also be shown several bookmarked websites that they will use to gain access to the information they are seeking.  They will be taken through the process of looking at each website, determining if it is useful for their information purposes, and then choosing a species to represent.
  3. It will be explained to students that once they have completed their worksheet with the required information, they will use that information to create a “campaign” advertisement: My Penguin for Class Mascot!
  4. A completed sample advertisement will be displayed and discussed briefly.
  5. Students will be told that they are now ready to begin their research.  A recap of the directions will be given.
  6. Students will move to a computer with their partner and begin their research.
  7. Teacher and LMS will circulate, giving assistance and encouragement when needed.
  8. Students will have the remainder of the 90 minute block to complete this assignment – or rather the equivalent of two full library periods (if “open-access” is an option).



  1. Students will need to have their worksheet completely filled out and their advertisement [Question and answer competed when time is up.]
  2. An opportunity will be given for students to share experiences they had while workingon this assignment.  They may ask questions, share difficulties, share feelings, etc.
  3. Each pair of students will present their “campaign” advertisement to the class.

Follow up Activity for Older Students: [See attachment for younger students]


Penguins are the only birds that migrate by swimming. Trace the migration routes of these Magellanic penguins on a chart of the globe. They may migrate to the west coast of South America to Tetas Point in northern Chile or up the east coast of South America, past Argentina as far north as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Draw their routes on a map of South America and estimate the distance they have traveled.


Using satellite images, match their routes with the location of cold water currents.


Research the route by which other species of penguins migrate. Use satellite images of the Southern Hemisphere and references on penquin migration to trace the migration routes of various species.


Discuss assumptions students can make about migration routes by looking at infrared imagery (penguins follow water currents).


LMS and Science teacher will circulate to observe each student's ability to follow directions.

Completed handouts will demonstrate students' ability to extract accurate information from the websites.

Completed projects will be used to show students' ability to choose websites appropriate to complete assignment.

Presentation of completed projects (advertising campaign) will show students' understanding of lesson content.

Observations will be made to observe students' ability to work with a partner.

Students' participation and excitement will demonstrate their confidence in learning of research skills.

Supporting Files: