My first grade class just finished a penguin unit. We made a big deal about the globe, equator, and how penguins can live in lots of places under the equator in the southern hemisphere.
penguin activities--snacks and other
A good question was always "Why would a penguin and polar bear never meet, except for in a zoo?"
(Polar bears only live in northern hemisphere.
It was a great way to get some geography in.
There are at least 4 Tacky the Penguin books. They are all great!!
Also, look for the book "Antarctic Antics."
It is a collection of poems about the life of a penguin, from the egg to eating, to predators, and living in the Antarctic. The kids and I loved it!! I also tracked down a video of the book at the local library. This is a "must" for your unit!
Another fun activity was the penguin habitat snack.
We just started a big unit on animals and habitat is an important concept.
The snack is made in a clear plastic disposable cup. Use bright-blue "kool-aid" (I got it already made in a jug." Also, use little fruit snack fish. (I could only find sharks, but I explained it to my kids.) Then we used little and big marshmallows for the icebergs/snow/and/or eggs.
The kids loved making this! They didn't all eat it, but it was fun.
At the end of our unit, we also decided to adopt a penguin from our local zoo. We adopted a Humboldt penguin, a penguin on the endangered species list. I asked each child to bring in 1 dollar. This is another way to culminate the unit. We spent a few weeks on our unit and my kids really adored penguins.