Children have built in radar when it comes to snow. Just the mention of that frosty “S-word” seems to create an energetic burst to bodies and brains. Actually, I have to admit that I am still filled with joy when I hear the words “snow day” too. So, let’s channel that flurry of excitement into lively learning opportunities. When we tap into our students’ high interest areas, we can spark the investigations that lead to illumination.
Here are a few snowy ideas to integrate into the learning day:
Wilson A. Bentley was a self-educated farmer who was the first to photograph a single snowflake in 1885. He found that “No two snowflakes are alike.” The Snowflake Man made rich discoveries of beauty that no one had ever seen before. His inspiring life story can help our students see that just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two students are alike in their learning journeys. You can find out more about this extraordinary man here: http://www.snowflakebentley.com/bio.htm
Snowy Math Opportunities
Creating snowflakes is a great lesson in symmetry. Have you tried stretching the activity to include problem solving and predicting the outcome? Create a paper snowflake and fold it back into its original pre-cut shape. Have the children predict and draw what they think the snowflake will look like when it is unfolded. Then unfold and reveal the snowflake’s shape and compare the results.
Snowy Art Opportunties
Snowy art opportunities abound. Use a black piece of paper, white colored pencils, or chalk to replicate an ice crystal. Check out Cal State’s guide to ice crystals for a closer look: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class-old.htm
Remember in Little House in the Big Woods when Ma showed Laura how to make snow candy by pouring hot maple syrup over a bowl of snow? Try this fun activity with snow or ice. The hot syrup will harden instantly and you will have a fun treat. There are many recipes you can find online.
The joy of a snow day can inspire many creative writing opportunities. Create a list poem, song, or rap. Have children design a snow-character and tell its life story. Read Snowmen at Night and create another page to add to this entertaining tale.
Snow Day Reading
Make some hot chocolate and have students choose a cozy spot to sit and read fun snow filled tales. Here are a few great choices recommended by Delightful Children’s Books.
Snowy Exploration and Design
Visit the Design Squad and get some ideas about how to create a “snowbot.” http://pbskids.org/designsquad/blog/snowbot/
‘Tis the season for wintry weather, so be prepared. There are countless ways to keep the learning going even when snow and excitement are in the air. Let it snow!