Penguin Penguin
Teacher Toolbox - Penguins

Welcome to the Teacher Toolbox! Here you will find a broad variety of instructional resources to compliment your students' viewing of Saving a Species: Penguins. Use these materials to construct lesson plans, spark discussion, and inspire your students to become active participants in preserving the world we share with wildlife.

See Penguin Video Series



  • adaptation: a modification of an organism that makes it more suited to live in its environment. Adaptations help an organism survive.
  • Antarctic: of or at or near the continent of Antarctica.
  • camouflage: an adaptation that helps a species blend in with its surroundings.
  • conservation: taking care of our environment by wisely managing its resources.
  • countershading: a type of protective coloration in which the dorsal (top) surface is darker than the ventral (underneath) surface. When lighting is from above the animal appears inconspicuous.
  • crèche: term used for a gathering of partially grown penguin chicks. Creche is the French word for crib.
  • ecosystem: a unit of plants, animals, and nonliving components of an environment that interact.
  • endangered: in danger of becoming extinct.
  • equator: an imaginary line drawn on the Earth and spaced equally between the North and South Pole.
  • food chain: a simple straight line diagram that shows "who eats whom" in an ecosystem.
  • food web: a diagram that shows the many complex interconnections of "who eats whom" in an ecosystem.
  • krill: a small, shrimplike crustacean found in the open ocean. A primary prey item for many marine species including penguins and baleen whales.
  • nest site fidelity: when birds return to the same nesting location year after year.
  • over-fishing: catching more fish than the species' population can replace through natural breeding rates.
  • pollution: harmful elements that alter or affect an environment in a negative way, such as chemicals that poison water supplies or trash that clutters the ocean.
  • population: a group of plants or animals of the same species that live in the same area and have the opportunity to breed with each other.
  • predator: an animal that eats other animals.
  • preen: to clean, arrange and oil feathers
  • prey: v; to hunt and eat other animals. n; an animal eaten by another animal.
  • Southern Hemisphere: the half of the Earth between the South Pole and equator.
  • threatened: facing possible threat of extinction, but not facing as great a threat as an endangered species. Threatened species may become endangered.
  • vocalization: sounds produced for auditory communication.


Activity Descriptions | K-4


Activity Descriptions | 5-8


Activity Descriptions | 9-12

Games and Worksheets

Pre & Post-Viewing Questions

More Than Meets the Eye

  • Can you identify on a globe or map where the equator and Antarctica are found? Can you also point out another location (other than Antarctica) where penguins are found in the Southern Hemisphere?
  • How many species of penguins do scientists currently recognize? How many can you name?

Baby It's You

  • The materials and methods penguins use to build their nests depends on their species. Can you name some materials and methods penguin use to build their nests? Why do penguins have so many types of nests?
  • Describe how penguin parents care for their chick.

Underwater World

  • Why is the marine environment important to penguins?
  • Describe a simple marine food chain containing penguins.
  • Name a physical and behavioral characteristic that helps penguin survive in the aquatic environment.

The Mating Game

  • Explain what the term "nest site fidelity" means.
  • Give an example of a penguin courtship display and explain the importance of these displays.

The Person to Penguin Connection

  • Corey traveled to Antarctica to observe penguin species whose numbers have been steadily decreasing in recent years. What are some of the reasons for these declines?
  • Barbara traveled to South Africa to help with a penguin chick bolstering process. Explain why this program is so important for this species of penguin.
  • Even though it may seem that penguins live far away from the United States there are many things that we can here at home that will protect penguins. Give an example of something you can do this week to help penguins.