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. Continue reading Staying Warm – Background

Staying Warm – Activities

FOCUS: In northern climates, ecosystems are very different places in winter compared to summer, 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 offer some protection, and the energy stored in dormant plants and cached food provides the nutrition they need to get through the winter.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about animals staying warm.

Gathered in a circle, ask children what they notice about how the outdoors in northern climates is different in the winter than at other times of the year. Ask children what they can do to stay warm outside.

Objective: Use a model to see how a warm object loses heat to its environment.

Ask a child to feel the spot in the center of the circle and report how it feels to the group. (It usually feels cool.) Now set a pan of hot water in that spot. Continue reading Staying Warm – Activities

Staying Warm – Puppet Show


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

Props: small strip of fur, 6” piece of feather boa, bag labeled “Nuts” prop; 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 sleep until spring. So, see you in May!

Matthew  Matilda, hibernating is much more than sleeping. Only a few animals can do it, and white-footed mice like us are not hibernators. 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