Matthew Henson Box

Matthew Henson Box

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Who was Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole?

At age 11, Matthew Henson left his home in Charles County, Maryland, and with it, the sharecropping legacy of his freeborn parents. He never looked back. Instead he looked forward to a life of adventure on the high seas, laboring on the Katie Hines (a ship) as a cabin boy. Through years of seafaring, his expertise grew. And then one day in D.C., Henson met the man who would change his life, leading him all the way to the North Pole...

Read more of Matthew Henson's story in Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson by Deborah Hopkinson. Children 10-12 will receive Matthew Henson: Arctic Adventurer by Blake Hoena.

For ages 4-6

Big Idea: Living things need proper habitats to survive. Sometimes we adapt to our habitats.

  • Warmth in the Arctic--How do animals stay warm in the Arctic? In this activity, children will use fat to stay warm in a small ice bath.
  • The Science of Floating Ice--Why does ice float on water? Isn't ice just water in a different state of matter? In this activity, we'll go over why ice floats by explaining density.
  • Insta-Snow Activity--A substances that's winter-y and fun, Insta-Snow is a great way to introduce children to polymers, the conservation of mass and physical reactions.
  • Inuit Homes Activity--In this craft, you'll construct your own Igloo out of Crayola's model magic.
  • Extra: We're working on numbers with a color by Numbers polar bear picture and a connect the dots polar bear picture. There's also instructions for a fun activity on camouflage.

For ages 7-9

Big Idea: Adaptations can make us better suited to our environment. Salt has an interesting affect on the currents driving our climate.

  • Warmth in the Arctic Activity--How do animals stay warm in the Arctic? In this activity, children will use fat and fur to stay warm in a small ice bath, then they'll measure how long each material can maintain its temperature!
  • DIY Saltwater Tester--How does salt effect conductivity? In this experiment, your kids will find out.
  • How Glaciers Change Our Landscape Activity--In this activity, kids will create their own glaciers and carve paths in the "earth". They'll learn about different glacial phenomena that occur as glaciers move around.
  • Thermohaline Circulation Activity--There are currents deep within the ocean that move based on the salt content and temperature of the water. In this activity, kids will simulate that circulation with surprising results!
  • Extra: 4 additional experiments with instructions (additional materials not provided), and a mathematical color by numbers polar bear picture.

For ages 10-12

  • Matthew Henson: Arctic Adventurer by Blake Hoena
  • DIY Thermometer Activity--How do thermometers work? What's the science behind them? In this experiment, kids will make their own thermometer to measure the temperature of substances inside their homes.
  • Thermohaline Circulation--There are currents deep within the ocean that move based on the salt content and temperature of the water. In this activity, kids will simulate that circulation with surprising results!
  • Albedo Lab--How do the poles manage to stay so cold when the Sun's rays warm the rest of the Earth? In this experiment, we'll explore how the reflection and absorption of the sun's rays affects the temperature of the Arctic.
  • DIY Saltwater Tester--How does salt effect conductivity? In this experiment, your kids will find out.
  • Extra: 4 additional experiments and an explanation of why navigating to the poles was a risky endeavor for explorers beyond the harsh weather.