If science takes the back burner in your school, a unit on winter animals is an exciting way to incorporate more science into your January plans!
Since there is often such little scheduled time for science, I want to make sure my lessons are meaningful and engaging. I make sure they are well-planned and concise, keeping the big ideas and standards in focus.
My Animals in Winter unit does just that. Each lesson includes interactive activities to get your kids moving to learn about animal adaptation. It integrates all subject areas to help connect learning. Here’s some of what we do!
We start with hibernation. We check our heart rate before and after doing jumping jacks and discuss how activity affects it. Kids learn that hibernating animals’ heart rate drops significantly and their bodies get cold. We sing this little poem/song about hibernation and switch out the animals and hibernating homes.
Each student picks an animal for their own poem and craft.
Next, we discuss migration. Did you know that this is a GREAT lesson on teamwork and collaboration? Geese in the back honk to cheer on and support the geese in the front. When a goose falls down, other geese help it get back in formation.
Here is a great YouTube clip about geese migration.
We “migrate” from one side of the classroom to the other, rotating positions just like geese! My resource has North and South signs to tape up in your classroom, as well as a diagram to show you just how we do it.
This may be my favorite part of this unit. Kids love to hide and they love to learn that animals do it too! Here are some of our camouflaging activities! How many mittens do you see? Look closely!
We also love to make our own “camouflaging” animals! How many can you find below?
Did you catch this one? 😀
Of course, we discuss how some animals get ready for the winter by storing nuts. Check out our students looking for nuts they stored! But what happens when not all are found? Hmmmm….
This is one of my absolute favorite units to teach throughout the year and I love that it incorporates science into reading, writing, math, art, and even social skills! Here are some more things we do!
Our STEM challenge is to make a cave for sleepy winter animals.
Of course, we integrate read-alouds in the unit and here’s one of our book response activities.
I love using these foldable mini-books that summarize what each animal does. Only 1 page each, so they’re super easy to prep. Kids get to illustrate the pages to demonstrate comprehension!
These passages are perfect for close reading: kids highlight to show evidence for their answers. They are differentiated, with picture supports to help readers understand each section.
We practice making inferences with this interactive activity. Students read the clues and glue the flaps onto the correct animals.
As we learn, we create class charts to keep track of all our learning. We also write in learning journals.
Now includes digital activities for use with Google slides, too!
My Animals in Winter resource is just chock full of lessons and ideas to get your kids immersed in this science unit. Check it out in my TpT store here, or in my Tejeda’s Tots shop here. Use code totsvip20 for 20% off your entire first order in my Tejeda’s Tots shop only.
Want a free Animals in Winter resource?
It includes a differentiated reading passage, mini-book, PLUS an entire book-based lesson with sequencing cards and printables. Scroll down to grab it!
And check out my post on Winter Animal books to help you plan. It pairs fiction and non-fiction books to cover so many skills
If you liked these ideas, let me know your favorite below! Don’t forget to share with other teachers who may also love them. Thank you! 🙂