A blizzard of "snow" lessons and activities for all ages! These "snow angels" are heaven-sent to save you a multitude of planning time. Lessons and activities for all grades!
LET'S RUB NOSES
When Donald M. Zink, science coordinator at Wood River (Nebraska) Elementary School, recently requested information about building an igloo out of milk jugs, Shelly Cummings of Arlington, Texas, answered his call. She read Zink's post on the Classroom Connect Mailing List and happened to have the directions from another mailing list to which she subscribes.
"You need about 200 plastic gallon jugs," said Cummings. "Lay 20 of the jugs, bottoms facing out, in a circle on the floor. Remove four or five of the jugs to create a doorway. Connect the remaining jugs with hot glue. Glue a row of jugs on top of the previous row. Continue adding rows of jugs until the igloo is five rows high. When gluing the sixth row of jugs, continue connecting jugs until you have a complete circle. This will create a row of jugs over the door and begin the formation of the roof. Continue adding rows of jugs [decreasing the number with each row] until you have room at the top for only one jug. Cut a jug in half; then glue the bottom portion of the jug to the top of the structure to finish the igloo off."
Thanks to Cummings' help, many educators who subscribe to the list now have a guide to making a simulated igloo for their classrooms. For a set of directions for building a real igloo, see Building an Igloo.
Snow is coming, so let's dig right into some chilly lessons and activities!
Snow Activities is a terrific teaching resource! This site is an absolute must-see for elementary teachers and a true gem from the homeschooling Teel family of Alaska. Subjects such as science, literature, and art are included as well as additional suggestions. Find out how to preserve snowflakes to study with a microscope, or read a story with a snowy theme. Teachers of all grades will want to begin their snow units with a visit to this Web site.
Language Arts - write an opinion. What are the best and worst things about living where you live? If you lived in Alaska, you would probably believe that it is a wonderful place to be -- except during the dead of winter! Second grade students from Mrs. Bear's class in North Pole, Alaska, put their thoughts down on the Web page The Best and Worst of Winter in North Pole, Alaska [archived copy might be slow to load]. Have your students describe the drawbacks to living in their area during winter. Remember, to people who live in warm climates, not having snow can be a negative!
If you happen to live in a place that doesn't receive wintertime snow, take heart! Your students may build snowmen without the cold, numbness, and even the snow! There are several excellent interactive online snowman-building programs for your students to use. You could use these programs to get your students thinking and imagining a great character before they recreate it on paper or with marshmallows, clay, or dough.
Art - make a snowman online. South Florida Snow Man is one cool dude, Florida-style! Students can even give this guy a Miami Dolphins helmet and jersey. If you aren't in the mood for a Floridian excursion, try Build a Snowman, Make Your Own Snowman, or Build Snow People. The titles may seem similar, but the activities are different on each Web page.
Language Arts - complete or act out a song/story. All children enjoy the popular holiday classic song, Frosty the Snow Man. Have older elementary students pick up the story from where it stops at the end of the song and create a new adventure for Frosty. Younger students might enjoy acting out the song with students playing the roles of Frosty's many friends, including the traffic cop.
Music - sing and illustrate a piggyback song. Young kids will love this little piggyback song. I'm a Great Big Snowman is a fun new set of words to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot." Have your students try this new version and illustrate the snowman it describes. Older students could create their own piggyback songs with a wintry theme to familiar tunes.
Language Arts - write a snowman poem. Have students write a snowman poem using the Snowman Poem (scroll down to page 21) work sheet.
Language Arts - create a new ending. An excerpt of a book, The Talking Snowman by Margaret Sutton and Linda Joy Singleton, is available on this Web page for students to read and enjoy. Have older students try to continue the story based on the short excerpt here. They might just decide to read the book out of interest in the true story!
Music - imagine dancing snowmen. Do snowmen dance? On the Internet, they do! The Dancin Christmas Snowman is an adorable site with an animated snowman that dances to a jazzy Christmas tune. Young children will definitely love it! While this isn't the most scientific of sites, it does raise an important question. Like the proverbial "tree falling in the woods," do snowmen dance when no one is watching? Have older elementary students write stories about snowmen coming to life in their front yards. Younger students will enjoy just pretending to be dancing snowmen!
"LET IT SNOW!"
Science - investigate storm fronts. Use the resources of the premier weather Web site from the Weather Channel to explain how snow storms form and track at Types of Winter Storms. In addition to the general background information, you will find details about past storms of particular strength. Have the students identify what types of storms, if any, tend to strike in your area. If you are not at home in the "Snow Belt," assign other areas for your students to research.
Science - make "Snow Fact" books. Have your students make "snow fact books" with the information that they find at this online resource from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. All About Snow is a virtual library of snow history and related material. Make sure your students see the "Snow Fact Sheet" for record snowfall information and more.
Social Studies - find snow-covered places on Earth. Students in grades 6-12 will enjoy this online activity, Search for Ice and Snow. Using images of Earth, they will look for places where they believe that they see snow and ice. They will print the images and record the locations. This is an exercise in Web searching skills, map reading, and geography. Have your students follow the directions and come back together after they have had a chance to compile their data to gather their collective results. Mark the snow-covered areas on a classroom map.
Science - study three stages of water.Need an interesting, stimulating, practical snow experiment for your classroom? This is it! Perform the experiment with easily obtained materials and send your results to the creators of the site. Density of Water, Ice and Snow Experiment has detailed instructions to get you up and running with this study of the three stages of water. (Alternate experiment: Snow Density Experiment.)
MORE SNOW ON THE INTERNET!
Weather and Climate
Here you'll find a collection of information about climate and weather including record high temperatures, recorded weather extremes, and tornado facts.
Science Project: Winter Insects
Contact the director of this project for more information on his high school's research into the existence of cold weather insects in Fargo, North Dakota. [archived copy might be slow to load]
Article by Cara Bafile
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