Classroom Activities and Printable Activity Sheets
Winter 2010 Hibernation
Supplemental Activities for the Classroom
A Blanket of Snow
If you have at least 12 inches of snow, it can be fascinating to compare the temperature above and below the snow. There are many different ways to demonstrate the insulating quality of snow. Here's one, with internet links for more ideas.
Snow Temperature Gradient-Divide the class into small groups and give each group a thermometer, a yard stick, a shovel, and a page on which to record their data. Have each group go to a different area of the schoolyard or other open space and record the depth of the snow. At each study site, have the students cut straight down into the snow so they can see the profile, and move away some of the snow so they can reach the ground. Have them measure and record the temperature of the snow at different depths, including at ground level and at the surface. Ask them to consider where they'd rather be on a cold, windy day, and why. Compare notes with other groups and see if different snow conditions (icy and compacted vs. light and fluffy) result in different insulation values. (HINT: They do.)
A Blanket of Snow Activity Sheet (PDF) (50 kB)
Visit these other websites (you will be leaving DEC's site) for more information about snow:
Earth Gauge: National Environmental Education Foundation Program "All About Snow"
Project WILD Below Zero "Snow Place Like Home"
Little Traverse Conservancy's Young Naturalists Nature Activity page, Get Outside (January 2008) "Discover the Warmth of Snow"
On page 7 of this issue of C4K, we have a photo of a hibernating wood frog. Close inspection of the image will show ice crystals on the animal. To help your students to better understand this extreme adaptation to winter-freezing solid-it's worth visiting the web site of Dr. Kenneth Storey at Carleton University in Canada. The process wood frogs go through is described, and numerous photos are on the site. Links are provided to other sites with supporting information. Lessons to demonstrate the process wood frogs go through are available from Scientific American Frontiers (PBS).
The following sites will take you off the DEC website:
Website of Kenneth Storey, at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario; see especially "Vertebrate Freeze Tolerance" and "Invertebrate Cold Hardiness"
Scientific American Frontiers on PBS; curriculum to accompany "Going to Extremes: Frozen Alive" (originally broadcast 1996-97 season)
For teachers who have participated in a Project Learning Tree or Project WILD workshop, the activity listed below complements the winter 2010 issue of C4K. Visit the DEC Teacher Workshop page for information about workshops and about how to obtain this curriculum and activity guide.
Project WILD: Interview a Spider (adapt by reporting on species that hibernate)
Conservationist for Kids Winter 2010 Teacher Supplement (PDF) (24 kB)