animals in the winter, animals hibernate

Wonderful Winter Science Over and Under the Snow

animals in the winter, animals hibernate

Winter brings a lot of excitement for you and your students. What are the chances that your part of the country will be getting some frozen precipitation (or maybe you already have)! If you don’t live in an area where it snows you can still help your students learn about winter!  Why not combine the chill or heat of the weather with some super fun science reading and cool activities? Check out the book Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner to brighten up any school day!

This book takes a sneak peak into the ‘secret kingdom under the snow’.  You will study animals that make homes both (you guessed it) over and under that fluffy white layer while skiing along with a child through a winter wonderland. Not only does it have lovely and calming illustrations, but it is also informative.  You’ll discover red squirrels, beavers, white-tailed deer and more!

What I love about this book is that the story has a natural melodic flow, but it has so much science packed in!  It also contains an expository reference section for you to provide facts for your students on these furry (and not so furry) creatures. The author has included other books and websites to help build your lesson too!  You’ll be inspired with the limitless activities you can do in your classroom. Read on for a few of my favorite things to do with your class!

Shrews, voles, deer mice, oh my! If you’re like me, you may not be familiar with every animal in this book, so why not dig deeper into study of wildlife! Have your students create a comparison chart jotting down the similarities and differences between these animals.  Venn diagrams and KWL charts work great! Your older kids can pair off and research an animal to present to the class. You can break them up into over and under crews! How fun!

Chances are you may not be playing outside much with cold and snowy weather.  So, get those wiggles out by playing Over-Under! Tell your students to pay close attention while you’re reading and make note (mental or physical) about which animals stay above the snow and which ones make homes underneath.  When you’re finished reading have students stand up to play Over-Under. As you call out a name of an animal from the book students can stand up to show it stays above the snow or squat down for animals that stay below.  It will give your kids a hoot! (Speaking of hoot, don’t forget to mention the great horned owl during your game.)

animal hibernation in the winter

Another great activity for your kinesthetic learners is to build a subnivean zone. (Don’t worry… the book explains what it is!) You can use any material that looks like snow (kinetic sand, play dough, modeling clay, cotton balls) and have your kids build small dens and tunnels underneath. They will have a blast trying to make this underground hidden kingdom for their winter animals.

If you want to make even more winter science magic happen, try making your own snow. Combining baking soda and shaving cream creates “snow” like textures that your kids will love. Use this to make homes for their underground animals and tracks for their above ground friends. Try finding clear containers they can work in, so they can see their underground burrows. This would be perfect for a science center as well. Throw in some animal figurines and you’ve got the perfect literary science center.

While you’ve got out your snowy materials add on another fun learning experience and play track the tracks!  Have students recreate different animal tracks in the “snow.”  Give them a cheat sheet or hold up an example and let them recreate! (You can find photos of snow prints here or here!)  You can also incorporate this fun little quiz online and have your class test their knowledge of identifying more snow tracks.

Don’t let being stuck indoors or the lack of snow get your students down.  Grab this book and read it aloud to your class for a snowy, super, science filled day!

Snow Tracks Websites:

Snow Track Quiz:

You can also take a look at some amazing Arctic animals with these webcams!

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll see you soon!


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Hello and welcome to Science is for Kids! I’m Sarah, the author, and I’m glad you dropped by to visit my site. I love providing teaching ideas for elementary science teachers, and here, you’ll find my favorite lessons and resources to make learning science fun for kids. You can visit my About Me page to learn more.


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