Question Sheet: Out in the Cold


Before reading:

  1. How are penguins portrayed on television and in movies?
  2. State three facts you know about penguins.

During reading:

  1. What is anthropomorphism? Why do some scientists think that it is bad?
  2. What obstacles are today’s penguins facing?
  3. Why is it possible for scientists to find out fairly easily whether penguin

    populations are declining?

  4. Why are penguins especially sensitive to environmental changes?
  5. How does Dee Boersma go about studying penguins?
  6. Do penguins have personalities?

After reading:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of attributing human feelings to

    an animal in a documentary film?

  2. How do you think the film March of the Penguins might affect people’s perceptions of penguins?
  3. Given that penguin populations are declining, what can people do to protect the animals that remain? See (International Penguin Conservation Work Group).
  4. What other animals might be considered “sentinels of the environment”? Why?

    See (Canary Database, Yale School of Medicine).

  5. How do you think Punta Tombo’s numerous tourists might affect the penguins

    that live there? See (New Zealand Penguins) and (University of Washington).

  6. Why do scientists need to study penguins? See (University of Washington) and (National Wildlife Federation).


  1. Plan a trip to see penguins. Where would you go? Why? How would you get

    there? Where is Punta Tombo? See (Government of Argentina) and


  2. Penguin populations are decreasing, but not all of the varieties of penguins

    are considered endangered. What makes an animal an endangered species? See


  1. If you have seen March of the Penguins, write a review of the film.
  2. Write your own short film script about penguins. What kind of story would you tell? Would you focus on a specific penguin or a region?


Penguins sometimes go on great feeding expeditions lasting 22 to 38 days. On the longest such trip, a penguin traveled 1,900 kilometers. How fast did this penguin travel if the trip took 38 days? By what percentage faster would the penguin have to travel if it did the trip in 22 days?

Summary: With pollution, over-fishing, and shrinking habitats, the life of a penguin isn’t getting any easier.