Staying Warm – Background

A bushy-tailed fox patrols the edge of a snowy field, a blue jay’s call rings out in the frosty stillness, tiny mice prints, like stitching on a quilt, crisscross the snow. These sights and sounds tell of the many birds and mammals that stay active throughout the winter. Like us, these animals must find ways to stay warm in order to survive this season of cold, inhospitable weather.

It’s easy to show why warm-blooded animals face the problem of heat-loss in winter. Leave a cup of hot cocoa on the kitchen counter and it will soon cool down until it reaches room temperature. In summer a dish of ice cream will Continue reading Staying Warm – Background

Staying Warm – Activities


FOCUS: In northern climates, ecosystems are very different places in the winter with shorter days, colder temperatures, and plants making little or no food. Even so, many warm-blooded animals stay active throughout this cold season, conserving body heat by seeking out shelter or putting on extra fur, feathers or fat. For small animals, a layer of snow can provide some protection, and the energy stored in dormant plants and cached food provides the nutrition they need to get through the winter.

Introduction: What are some ways that our northern ecosystems are different in winter? (Colder, wetter, snowy, windy, water is frozen, less food, plants not producing, etc.)

Optional: Do Temperature Equalizes first, to introduce the concept of heat loss. Continue reading Staying Warm – Activities

Staying Warm – Puppet Show


Characters: Matthew Mouse, Matilda Mouse, Dory Doe, Cally Chickadee, Rocky Raccoon

Props: small strip of fur, downy feathers, small bag labeled “Nuts”; special stage with tunnel and chamber under the snow.

(Puppets appear on top of the snow)

Matthew  Hey Matilda, let’s go out for a walk in the snow.

Matilda  Sorry Matthew. I’ve decided to hibernate like Woody Woodchuck and Continue reading Staying Warm – Puppet Show

Staying Warm – 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 Staying Warm – Standards