Facts About the Arctic: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The Arctic is a very chilly place at the top of the Earth. This lesson will teach you about the Arctic, how cold it gets there, what animals make it their home and some other cool facts about this very cold place.

What is the Arctic?

Imagine floating high above the Earth in a spaceship. You see the clouds, the land and the oceans like you've never seen them before. Then you notice a big, white icy patch at the top of the world. You are looking at the Arctic!

The Arctic from Space
The Arctic from Space

The Arctic is the North Pole and the area around it. That area includes the Arctic Ocean and sections of Russia, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and even Alaska in the United States.

In the summer, you probably wear shorts and flip flops because it's hot outside. At the North Pole in the Arctic, the average summer temperature is 32 degrees, which is about where it is when you see snow. And if you think that's cold, the average winter temperature is 40 degrees below zero. One place in Greenland even got to 94 degrees below zero!

The ice in the Arctic acts like a mirror and redirects sunlight. This helps the area to stay cooler, like an air conditioner. It also helps keep temperatures on Earth normal and steady, which is why scientists are worried that there is less ice than there used to be.

Shrinking Arctic Ice
Shrinking Arctic Ice

Animals of the Arctic

Even though it's very cold and the conditions are tough, some animals are made to live in the Arctic and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. They have insulation, like fur and fat, to keep in their body heat.

One of those animals is the polar bear. They have thick white fur that helps them stay warm and blend in, and they have fat to keep them warm, too. They like to snack on other animals that live in the Arctic, like seals, who also have a thick layer of fatty blubber to keep them toasty.

Arctic foxes have thick fur that changes to white in the winter so they match their snowy surroundings, making them hard to see.

The narwhal (pronounced NAR-wall) is a unique type of whale that only lives in Arctic water. This animal is occasionally compared to a unicorn because of the tusk that sometimes sticks out of its head. What at first appears to be a horn is really a giant tooth that can grow to be around ten feet long, which is almost as long as a male alligator. In the winter, they spend a lot of their time under the ice.

Narwhal Museum Model
Narwhal Museum Model

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