Upon finding animal tracks in the snow the students began to question how the animals who did not hibernate or migrate for the winter managed to survive the cold. They also wondered which animals stayed active in the winter. Felicity the fairy left us pictures of different animal tracks. As a weekly recipe the students worked together to make salt dough. Using potato stamps, playdough tools and toy bird feet the students had the chance to make their own animal tracks in the snow.
During one daily game show lesson, the students learned that some birds such as cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, and woodpeckers stay in Toronto for the winter. They learned how the birds survived the cold by growing extra feathers, fluffing out their feathers and snuggling together. The students also learned that because food can be scarce for birds in the winter as the seeds, tree nuts and berries may be harder to find, we can help them by making bird feeders. Many students loved designing and then making their own bird feeders.
Students also had a chance to play with this theme in a kinesthetic way with our themed playdough and sensory bins. It was neat overhearing the students go in role as birdies and explain to their friends how they stay warm in the winter time.
In math, students continued to look at 2D shapes by building birds with hexagons, rhombuses, parallelograms, triangles and squares. They also continued to look at symmetry by cutting out silhouettes of chickadees and cardinals. They also explored patterns and pattern cores.
cDuring our outdoor inquiry time the students noticed the leafy nests at the top of many of our school trees. At first they thought they belonged to birds. Together we learned that the dens were in fact built by squirrels as a winter den. They learned that in the fall squirrels store/hoard a lot of food and bury it in different holes in trees and underground. They also bulk up and store fat inside of their body. This is so they can spend much of the winter snuggling up to their squirrel friends in their dens and keeping warm. Squirrels sleep long stretches and then get up to eat. When they are very cold they shiver, which helps bring up their body's temperature. Students acted this out while we are outside and cuddled-up to their friends. They also played throughout the week with squirrel Calico Critter characters.