Snowflakes – Activities

FOCUS: A snowflake’s life is one of constant change, from its trip through the sky to its resting place in the snow bank. Each one is a unique, six-sided crystal with temperature and humidity as key factors determining their shape, size, and design.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about snowflakes.

If it’s snowing, bring the children outside with black felt squares and magnifying lenses to catch and observe snowflakes. If not, put out several snowflake photographs, and ask children what they notice about them. After they mention some similarities and differences, ask them to sort them.

Materials: outdoor version: squares of black felt or dark fabric, chilled, magnifying lenses; indoor version: snowflake photos.

SNOW CRYSTAL CATEGORIES
Objective: To observe snow crystal photos and sort into categories based on their design features.

Using the puppets and Types of Snow Crystals chart, review the various design features and growth patterns of five different snow crystals. Continue reading Snowflakes – Activities

Snowflakes – Puppet Show

No Two Alike?

 

Characters: Dust, Tiny Plate, Big Plate, Needle, Column, Capped Column, Stellar Dendrite.

Dust  Here I am, a tiny speck of dust floating in a cloud of snow crystals. Yoo hoo. Hello there.

Needle What’s this? A speck of talking dust.

Why, I was once a bit of dust, too.

Dust  Really? You look like ice, not dust. Continue reading Snowflakes – Puppet Show

Snowflakes – Standards

SNOWFLAKES ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Snowflakes – Standards

Track Detectives – Background

Animals live secret lives all around us – yet their tracks and sign can be found everywhere, starting in our own backyards. Winter is a great time for tracking as snow makes a great surface for animal tracks to register, leaving imprints for us to study and interpret. Becoming a track detective is like learning to read; in fact, it is reading, but with a different set of symbols. Every set of tracks tells a story. When reading these stories, consider the place where the tracks are found, the track pattern left behind, and the shape and size of the animal’s foot print. Continue reading Track Detectives – Background

Track Detectives – Activities

FOCUS: Tracks in the snow give us hints about the lives of animals that live nearby. Learning to recognize tracks and sign helps us identify animals and their activities from the clues they leave behind.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about tracks.

Show one slide photograph of an interesting outdoor track scene, and ask children to share their observations about the photo. What do they see in this picture?
Materials: photograph depicting an interesting outdoor track scene.

PRINT MATCH PUZZLES
Objective: To compare similarities and differences in size, shape, and number of toes in different animal footprints.

Ahead of time, create a few sets of the Print Match Puzzles, enough so that each small group of children can have one. First lay out only the puzzle pieces that show the animals’ footprints. Continue reading Track Detectives – Activities

Track Detectives – Puppet Show

Tracking the Tracker

Characters: Harry Hare, Sally Squirrel, Fiona Fawn, Ollie Otter, Peter Porcupine.

Props: Hopper Pattern, Bounder Pattern, Waddler Pattern, Walker Pattern, Hare Pattern (2X).

Harry Hare  (hopping back and forth)Oh boy! Snow on the ground. What fun! (hold up Hopper Pattern) Oh, look! Some tracks. Four prints together, then a space, then four more together. Maybe I can find a clue about who made these. Hmm…they go right to a tree. I know! These are squirrel tracks!

Sally Squirrel  You’re a good track detective, Harry! Those are my tracks. Continue reading Track Detectives – Puppet Show

Track Detectives – Standards

TRACK DETECTIVES ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Track Detectives – Standards

Feathering the Nest – Background

It is illegal to collect birds’ nests, feathers, or eggs without federal and state collecting permits.

Birds’ nests, hidden behind leafy curtains in the summer, often surprise us in the fall when they appear among the newly bare branches of trees. After the first snowfall, nests stand out as little snow-capped baskets perched on limbs or tucked away inside hedges and thickets. Although the birds that built them are probably far away, the size and shape, materials, and placement of nests can often give us clues about their identity. Birds build their nests without any prior instruction, and yet each builds a nest that is characteristic of its species. Continue reading Feathering the Nest – Background

Feathering the Nest – Activities

It is illegal to collect birds’ nests, feathers, or eggs without federal and state collecting permits.

After handling nests, be sure to wash hands.

FOCUS: Although all birds’ nests are made to contain and conceal the eggs, the design, location, and construction of nests varies greatly. Nests are built in many different places and they are built with many different materials. Some are simple scrapes and others are intricate woven baskets. Each nest is characteristic for its species, and every bird knows by instinct how and where to build it.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about bird nests.

Set out a variety of nests, ask children to take a close look, and ask what they wonder about them.

Materials: Bird Nest Set, magnifying lenses.

NEST DETECTIVES AND JOURNAL ACTIVITY
Objective: To investigate a variety of birds’ nests and create an inventory, documenting the materials used in their construction.

Ahead of time, place the five nests from the Bird Nest Set at five separate stations. Label each station with the letter listed on the paper tag attached to each nest.  Continue reading Feathering the Nest – Activities

Feathering the Nest – Puppet Show

Birds of a Feather

Characters: Mrs. Bluebird, Mr. Bluebird, Red-eyed Vireo, Phoebe, Goldfinch

Mrs. Bluebird  Well, that’s the last straw!

Mr. Bluebird  What is it, my dear? Is something the matter?

Mrs. Bluebird  The matter? No, I just said that’s the last straw. I’ve just added the last piece of straw to our nest, and now it’s done.

Mr. Bluebird  And a more beautiful nest I’ve never seen. I always admire your great talent in nest building. It must have been hard to learn. Continue reading Feathering the Nest – Puppet Show

Feathering the Nest – Standards

FEATHERING THE NEST ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Feathering the Nest – Standards

Animal Disguise and Surprise – Background

Insects in leaf litter, birds in thickets, frogs on the pond’s edge – all around us animals are hidden in plain sight. They have evolved a myriad of different disguises in response to constant pressure from keen-eyed predators. Animals can be variously colored, patterned, or shaped to blend into their surroundings, their disguise being most effective when they remain perfectly still. While some animals are concealed by camouflage, others warn off predators with bright colors, announcing danger in the form of bad taste, smell, or poison. While avoiding being eaten is an obvious benefit of effective camouflage, the ability to go unnoticed helps predators, too. It allows them to get closer to their prey before attacking, thus increasing their chances of success. In the end, whether predator or prey, those with the best disguise or surprise increase their chances of survival so that they might pass along these important characteristics to their offspring. Continue reading Animal Disguise and Surprise – Background

Animal Disguise and Surprise – Activities

FOCUS: All around you there may be animals hidden in plain sight. They can be variously colored, patterned, or shaped to blend into their surroundings. Some animals are concealed by camouflage, while others warn off predators with bright colors. Those with the best disguise or surprise will survive and pass along these important characteristics to their offspring.

INTRODUCTION
Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about protective coloration in animals.

Show a photo or two of animals with protective coloration in the wild, and ask children to share what they see, notice, and wonder.

Materials: 1-2 photographs of animals with protective coloration.

ANIMAL DISGUISE AND SURPRISE SLIDE SHOW
Objective: To see examples of different types of protective coloration.

Show photographs of the different types of protective coloration – matching color, disruptive coloration, countershading, masking, warning and flash coloration. Continue reading Animal Disguise and Surprise – Activities

Animal Disguise and Surprise – Puppet Show

Bumble Bee-ware

Characters: Beulah Bumblebee, Greta Grouse, Wilbur Walkingstick, Farley Fawn, Benny Bagworm, Eddy Eft.

Props: branch

Beulah Bumblebee

            How nice to be a bumblebee,

            Flying along as free as free.

            Gathering nectar from flowers I see, Continue reading Animal Disguise and Surprise – Puppet Show

Animal Disguise and Surprise – Standards

ANIMAL DISGUISE AND SURPRISE ALIGNMENT WITH
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE 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 Animal Disguise and Surprise – Standards

Frogs and Toads – Background

The warm rains of spring awaken an explosion of activity in our nearby pools, ponds, and muddy puddles. If you visit at dusk, you are sure to be greeted by a chorus of many and varied voices as one or more species of frogs comes a-courting, in a celebration of sound. This singing is an important part of their yearly breeding cycle and provides the music for spring and summer nights.

Frogs and toads, along with salamanders, are classified as amphibians. The word amphibian is from the Greek words meaning double life and refers to the fact that these animals have “two lives” – a larval stage and an adult stage that are often very different from each other. Most amphibians begin their lives in water but as adults are able to live on land, often returning to water to breed. They undergo an amazing transformation, or metamorphosis, from aquatic larva to terrestrial adult, involving physiological, anatomical, and behavioral changes. Continue reading Frogs and Toads – Background