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Snow Characteristics

Winter Ecology Teacher's Guide

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

In this outdoor inquiry students investigate how the depth and composition of snow can determine its insulating effects.  After digging a snow pit, the air temperature is measured and the temperature and composition of the snow are recorded at regular intervals between the surface of the pit and the ground below.

Students pool their results to determine patterns and consistencies in the relationships among snow depth, snow composition, snow temperature and the distribution of species.

A number of related winter activities are also suggested.

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This easy-to-implement outdoor activity provides a great opportunity for getting students outdoors in the winter months.  It offers an authentic context in which to examine the concepts of  'limiting factors' and 'adaptation'.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 7
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 9
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Core
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Investigations
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
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      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education - Outdoor Education: Spending time outdoors allows us to develop an understanding of the natural environment and ourselves
    • Grade 12
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        • Physical and Health Education - Outdoor Education: Spending time outdoors allows us to develop an understanding of the natural environment and ourselves
  • Manitoba
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        • Habitat and Communities
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        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
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        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
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        • Habitats
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        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
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        • Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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        • Interaction of Ecosystems
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        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Science 2200: Ecosytems
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        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
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        • Science 7: Interactions Within Ecosystems
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        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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      • Science
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        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
  • Ontario
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        • Interactions in the Environment
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        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
  • Prince Edward Island
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        • Habitats
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        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
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        • Science 421A: Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
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        • Habitats and Communities
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        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
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        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
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        • Science 4: The motion of Earth and the moon cause observable patterns that affect living and non - living things
    • Grade 11
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      • Physical Education & Health
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        • Physical and Health Education - Outdoor Education: Spending time outdoors allows us to develop an understanding of the natural environment and ourselves
    • Grade 12
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      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education - Outdoor Education: Spending time outdoors allows us to develop an understanding of the natural environment and ourselves

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World