Winter Ways – Background

The ever-changing cycle of seasons is one of the pleasures of living in a temperate climate. From the emergence of tender life in spring and the abundance of summer, to autumnal ripening, and then the long, cold winter, each season has its unique conditions. Survival demands that plants, animals, fungi, and even bacteria are adapted to survive all the seasons, and for most, winter is the most difficult. This might seem obvious, but the implications are important.

Because of the tilt of the northern hemisphere away from the sun in the winter, we experience shorter days and lower temperatures, often below the freezing point of water. Water is essential to life, the fluid matrix of living cells. When ice forms inside cells it not only slows down their functioning, but the sharp ice crystals can pierce cell walls, destroying them. To avoid this, many plants and Continue reading Winter Ways – Background

Winter Ways – Activities

FOCUS: Of the four seasons in the year, winter is most difficult for living things.  Temperatures are often cold, days are shorter, the ground is frozen and covered with snow, and there is a dearth of food for many creatures. Each animal species has evolved a survival strategy, and plants winter over in different ways as well. The dried seed heads of winter weeds provide a welcome source of food for many animals.

Introduction: Ask the children what clues we might find outside today that tell us it’s winter?


Objective: To identify seasonal changes in nature, and discuss the reasons for them. Continue reading Winter Ways – Activities

Winter Ways – Puppet Show

It’s Snow Picnic

Characters: Matthew Mouse, Woody Woodchuck, Simone Skunk, Ferdy Fir Tree, Goldy Goldfinch, Heidi Hare

Props: Sign saying “ January 1st”, piece of white fabric to cover stage, dried weed stalk with seed head, cotton balls.

Matthew Mouse  Oh boy! A snowflake in October!  Winter’s coming! I should have a party to celebrate winter. I’ll have it in January when there’s plenty of snow. Why, here’s Woody Woodchuck. Hi,Woody.

Woodchuck  Hi Matthew Mouse. Brrr, it’s cold today! I’m going back in my den! Continue reading Winter Ways – Puppet Show

Winter Ways – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Winter Ways – Standards