Changes in the Arctic Ecosystem


The Earth’s ecosystem—including the Arctic—is very fragile, and polar bears are among many creatures and plants that face an uncertain future. Discover more about how these magnificent creatures may be affected.


1. Find out why polar bears’ future may be threatened by changes in the Earth’s climate. Do research about a variety of perspectives on the issue. Locate the polar bears’ habitat on a map. For magnificent animal photographs, locate resources such as The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World by Steven Kazlowski.

2. Use your knowledge to depict polar bears in their natural habitat. This Arctic scene, which might make a great science fair project, is made with recycled items so it is even more Earth friendly. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

3. With Crayola Model Magic® compound, cover a cardboard base to look like snow. Place a recycled plastic container on the base. Mold a dome of modeling material over it to look like an igloo, the traditional home of native people living in the Arctic. Attach a small tunnel as an entrance. With a modeling tool, press gently into the compound to draw ice blocks on the outside of the igloo. Use Model Magic pieces and Crayola Glitter Glue to embellish the igloo in the sparkling snow. Air-dry the glue.

4. To make polar bears, shape Model Magic ovals for their bodies and heads. Press them together and smooth the seam. Add legs made with short, thick rolls of compound. Bend them for a realistic look. Shape tiny, rounded ears. Attach the pieces to the body and head. Use a contrasting color to shape eyes, ears, a nose, and mouth. Place the polar bears in the scene. Give them a few sparkles with Glitter Glue, too. Air-dry your scene at least 24 hours before handling.

5. Display your polar sculpture and orally present information about the effects of the Earth’s warming climate on polar bears.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Glitter Glue— WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. Not for use on skin.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.

Recycled Containers—Must be clean and safe. Do not use containers that contained bleach or other harmful chemicals (for example, household cleaners, dishwasher or laundry detergents). Do not use recycled metal cans that have sharp edges (for example, lids removed by household can openers).


  • Research the history of igloos. How are igloos insulated? What are the differences between the three types of igloos? Build an authentic replica igloo with blocks of Model Magic compound.
  • Find out about other polar wildlife and plants that are affected by climate change. What can humans do to reduce our carbon footprint?
  • Read Winter Woes by Marty Kelley. Talk about how weather affects humans. What can people do in cold weather to lift their spirits?
  • Assessment. Did students gather accurate information about the current status of polar bears? Can they locate polar bear habitats on a world map? Do sculptures accurately depict polar bears in their natural surroundings? Were recycled materials used to make a more Earth-friendly project?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Model Magic®
  • Glitter Glue
household supplies
  • modeling tools
  • recycled cardboard
  • recycled plastic containers



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Students investigate the current status of the polar bear with regard to changing global climate conditions.

  • Students sculpt realistic polar bears in their natural habitat.

  • Students explain how polar bears are affected by changes in the Earth’s ecosystem.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards