What kinds of memories do you have of last year’s winter season? Do you live in an area that experienced so many Snow Days that you had to make days up to fulfill your state’s requirements? Or do you live in the West where you spent the winter wondering if it would ever rain again? Last year brought extreme conditions across the country, but this year might be just the kind of winter you are hoping for (whatever that may be). No matter what the next three months bring, though, it’s a sure bet that winter will slip into your classroom one way or another.
In netTrekker, you can find engaging resources to bring the wonders of winter into your lessons.
Early Elementary – Exploring Jan Brett’s The Mitten
Jan Brett’s delightful interpretation of the Ukrainian folk tale, The Mitten, offers a wide range of opportunities to explore the role of literature in transmitting both culture and universal themes, as well as the relationship between illustrations and text.
- Begin with Jan Brett’s page of resources for The Mitten, including activities, coloring pages, and a lesson plan.
- Follow up with Carol Hurst’s Books In The Classroom review of The Mitten, with classroom ideas which include comparing Jan Brett’s book with several others which tell the same tale.
Elementary – Learn about Snow Crystals from the Snowflake Man
Have you and your students read Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin? Then you’ll enjoy sharing these sites about his work:
- “The Snowflake Man” is an 8 ½ minute video documentary about Wilbur Bentley.
- The Buffalo Museum of Science has a fine collection of Bentley’s snow crystal (snowflake) slides, with detailed information about the weather conditions that formed each crystal.
Middle – Understanding Extreme Weather
Severe weather is always big news, whether it involves hurricanes, floods, blizzards, or drought. What will this winter bring your area? More importantly, what causes these severe weather events? Can your students learn to predict the weather by learning these causes?
- Begin with an overall view of extreme weather conditions and what causes them with this National Geographic site about Extreme Weather On Our Planet.
- Use the Drought Monitor to track where the lack of rain is hitting our country the hardest this winter.
- Learn about an extreme opposite of drought with Blizzards and Winter Weather. Then use the link at the bottom of the page to Predict the Weather so students can practice using what they have learned.
High – The Science of Winter Sports
Even though it is not a Winter Olympics year, students in cold climates still participate in cold weather activities and competitions. Combine the science of physics with their love of sports by using some of the National Science Foundation videos on the Science of the Winter Olympics:
- Slapshot Physics, about ice hockey
- Science of Snowboarding, about (what else?) snowboarding
- Science Friction, about curling
- To see additional videos in this series, use the Browse tab on the netTrekker Home Page, and drill down through Science to Physics > Newtonian > Science of Sports.
Find these winter resources and more in netTrekker with the keyword search: December Newsletter.