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Arctic Tundra Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shoshana Yarin

Shoshana has taught all grades with an emphasis in science and has a master's degree in science.

The Arctic tundra is not a place people want to live, but it is a large part of Earth that has a very interesting community of life. Learn more facts about the tundra in this lesson.

What Is the Tundra?

It is cold, dry and windy. In fact it's the coldest and driest place on Earth, yet the sun shines twenty-four hours a day in the summer. Is that possible? Indeed. This place takes up about one-fifth of the earth, and it's called the tundra. The tundra is a biome, or a large area of land where there is a community of plants and animals in the same climate. Other biomes you might know are tropical rain forests or deserts. The word tundra means land without trees. But what kind of plants and animals could live in such a place, and where is it?

Tundra Scene
Tundra Scene

Tundra Life and Location

Can you imagine you're standing in an area with extremely cold, teeth-chattering temperatures? The temperatures in the tundra are too cold for people to live there or even visit. In fact, most trees can't even live there because under the snow and ice the soil is frozen and the roots can't grow. The plants that do grow there can only bloom flowers during the short summer (which lasts roughly six weeks), when the sun is always shining in the sky.

Imagine how beautiful all those many different kinds of flowers would be after ten months of snow and ice! Only the animals that can survive without the protection of trees can live in the tundra. Of course the big polar bear makes the tundra its home, but who else? Imagine Arctic foxes, wolves, caribou (similar to reindeer), mountain goats, sheep, birds like snow geese and even lots of insects. Some of the animals barely survive waiting for the very short summer when everything bursts into life.

Wolf in the Cold
Wolf in Cold

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