Winter Habitats Lesson
You can culminate studies and have fun with winter wonderland creations.
By Andrea Ferrero
The winter months are an exciting time of anticipation and celebration. In addition to the holiday-themed activities, you can explore nature and learn about animals. It can be a fun way to enjoy the season.
Bring Winter into the Classroom
There are many ways to incorporate this theme into your lessons. As a class, you can decorate with tree branches, berries, paper snowflakes, and pine cones. With the scene set, have students choose an animal that they relate to winter. This could be a local animal or polar bears and reindeer. Using books, reference materials and other classroom resources, students can create an index card mini report. Their mini report should include information, such as a description of the animal, its habitat, diet, life span, and interesting facts.
Each mini report can then be brought to life by creating a snow globe winter wonderland habitat. For each snow globe you will need a baby food jar or small votive candle jar (it needs to be clear glass with a screw on top), white or silver glitter, modeling clay, and water. You can bring in plastic animals, or have students draw their animal and laminate it for them. For older students, they can paint one side of the interior to create backdrop scenery. After you have the animals and optional scenery in place, it's time to put it all together. The following steps make this process go very smoothly:
- Have students take the lid off their jar and fill in the middle with modeling clay. Make sure to demonstrate this, and inform your students that filling the lid entirely with clay will make it very hard to put it back on the jar.
- Have them push their animal (plastic or laminated) upright in the clay and carefully pinch it in place. (This will hold up for a short while, a teacher or adult helper may use hot glue or crazy glue to secure it permanently.)
- Pour water into each student's jar and have them add glitter to create the "snow."
- Enter the animals into their winter wonderland by placing and securing the lids on each jar. Checking for a tight and secure seal is a very good idea.
- Model how slowly tipping their snow globe makes it snow around their animal.
You may choose to display snow globes around the room with their mini reports. The following animal lesson plans provide countless opportunities for extension.
Winter Habitats Lesson:
Students explore animals from a variety of habitats ranging from rainforest to deserts. They watch media clips and read a story before completing a comparison activity.
Connecting animal habitats in their backyard to the wildlife around the world students research animal life. They then create a unique culminating project, a vocabulary enriched puzzle and PowerPoint Presentation, to share with peers.
Students enjoy singing, storytelling and more in this exploration of the changes winter brings about in animals and their habitats. After building meaning around the concepts of migration and hibernation they create pine cone bird feeders.