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Winter's Coming. Don't You Know?

Changes in Animals

Elementary

Description

This resource teaches students about the seasonal adaptations of local wildlife through a diverse set of activities that incorporate games, displays and habitat investigations.  Students examine the changes in appearance and behaviour that occur in animals as they prepare for winter.  They also learn that many Canadian animals need special wintering habitats to survive the cold weather.  The lessons focus on four species to illustrate a variety of adaptations.  The squirrel and snowshoe hare are used as examples of animals that remain relatively active during the winter, whereas the black bear and western chorus frog are used as examples of animals that hibernate.  After participating in the resource activities students will be able to describe an adaptation as a physical characteristic or change in behaviour that helps an animal survive.  They will also create an imaginary habitat and animal to demonstrate new learning about seasonal adaptations.  The five lessons "Scurry Squirrel",  "Looking for Squirrel Homes", "Vernal Pools", "Fat Black Bears" and "Wardrobe Change" will keep students engaged through the following learning activities:

  • Simulation of squirrel food storage behaviours.
  • Examination of a forested area for squirrel nests and feeding middens.
  • Investigation of a vernal pool to learn about amphibian hibernation.
  • Exploration of the insulating properties of fat.
  • Exploration of animal colour changes.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • Experiential and takes students outside.
  • Highly engaging and enjoyable activities.
  • Very relevant and uses animals that students would be familiar with.
  • Well organized and easy to use.

Weaknesses

  • Not a lot of background information is provided for the teacher.
  • The resource requires pictures for several of the activities but they are not included.
  • There are no action project ideas that focus on habitat.
  • There are no suggestions for differentiated instruction.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Observing nature. 
  • Analyzing experimental results.
  • Investigating ways that animals adapt to their environment.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource offers an opportunity to take students outside to explore and interact with nature and learn about natural features of their community.  Students could be taught how to enjoy nature safely and with minimal impacts on the environment.  While exploring and participating in the activities children could also clean up garbage they find in the forest thus fostering a sense of respect and caring for their natural world.  Young children could also be encouraged to use their senses while they explore and imagine the senses that the animals they are learning about have to use to survive in their environment.

"Winter's Coming" would also make a valuable addition to a unit on seasons.  After they have participated in the activities children could describe with writing or pictures what they learned about how living things respond to seasonal cycles.  They could draw a picture of an animal in hibernation and record the habitat needs of that particular animal.  Students could also compare and contrast how humans prepare for the seasons with seasonal animals.  The "Scurry Squirrel" activity could incorporate some math by having students chart the number of popsicle sticks they found in various hiding locations and make a conclusion about the best locations for squirrels to hide their food.

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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    • Kindergarten
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The child explores familiar places and things in the environment and community
    • Grade 1
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Needs of Animals and Plants
        • Seasonal Changes
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Small Crawling and Flying Animals
  • British Columbia
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    • Kindergarten
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Characteristics of Living Things
    • Grade 1
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Sciences: Needs of Living Things
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Animal Growth & Changes
  • Manitoba
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      • Science
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        • Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
        • Daily and Seasonal Changes
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Changes in Animals
  • New Brunswick
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        • You and Your World: Place and Community
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        • You and Your World: Our Environment
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        • You and Your World: Growth and Development
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Kindergarten
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      • Science
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        • Exploring My World: Animals
    • Grade 1
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Daily & Seasonal Changes
        • Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Kindergarten
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      • Science
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        • Energy & Controls: Keeping Warm
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      • Science
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        • Life Systems: Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
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        • Life Science: Growth and Changes in Animals
  • Nova Scotia
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        • Exploring the World With Our Senses
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        • Science 1: Needs & Characteristics of Living Things
        • Science 1:Daily & Seasonal Change
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
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        • Science 2: Animal Growth and Changes
  • Nunavut
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    • Kindergarten
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy & Controls: Keeping Warm
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Growth and Changes in Animals
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Kindergarten
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring the World Using Our Senses
    • Grade 1
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Daily and Seasonal Changes
        • Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes:Investigating the Needs and Life Cycles of an Organism
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        • Units & Outcomes
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        • Daily and Seasonal Changes
        • Needs & Characteristics of Living Things
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes
  • Yukon Territory
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        • Life Science: Characteristics of LIving Things
    • Grade 1
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      • Science
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        • Earth & Space Science: Daily & Seasonal Changes
        • Life Sciences: Needs of Living Things
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
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        • Life Science: Animal Growth & Changes

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Forests

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The resource teaches students that although animal adaptations are important to their winter survival, habitat conservation is equally important to wintering wildlife.  Thus students will develop a more complete picture of the needs of animals in winter.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:

Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view

Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed

Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Through the active exploration component of the lessons students learn more about their own perspectives and understanding of how animals grow and change within their environment.  They also gain a greater understanding of the environmental impacts of habitat loss.  The economic impacts of seasonal adaptations are not considered in this resource but this aspect could be easily incorporated through the inclusion of some traditional stories about the harvest of animals.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Through the use of hands-on activities students are able to discover the many ways that animals adapt to changes in their environment.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Students learn about the importance of habitat conservation for wintering wildlife and may consider ways in which they can help protect habitat, but there are no direct action projects included with the resource.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Poor/Not considered

This resource will provide students with a deeper appreciation for nature and encourages respect for animals, but there are no formal opportunities for values clarification in the lessons.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good

The outdoor experience of this resource fosters a deeper appreciation for forested habitats and wildlife.  Students are actively engaged with the animals they are learning about  and will likely develop a deeper sensitivity and respect for these creatures.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

The type of habitat and the animals selected for this resource are very relevant throughout Canada and students will be familiar with these species.  The western chorus frog is the only regional species used in the lesson, but another amphibian species can be easily substituted for the western chorus frog in the activities.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The key learning strategy in this resource is a field trip. Through this inquiry there are abundant opportunities for students to discover answers and construct their own meanings from new information.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This resource is a science-based lesson.  A teacher can easily incorporate some language arts outcomes in the concluding lesson in which students create an imaginary habitat and animal.  Students could write about their creations describing how their animal is adapted to its habitat.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Most of the lessons in this resource occur outside and are structured so that students can find answers on their own without relying on each other or the teacher.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

There are no specific suggestions for accommodations in this resource, however the experiential nature of most of the activities will meet the needs of students with a wide range of learning styles.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

This resource provides many opportunities for students to become actively engaged in their learning through authentic experiences such as burying themselves in leaf litter to simulate hibernating frogs.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

The activities generally take place as a whole class but there are places where teachers can have students working in pairs or small groups.

Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

The concluding activity has students create an imaginary habitat with an animal that is adapted to the seasons.  This exercise could be used as a summative assessment of new learning especially if a writing component was also incorporated.  There are open-ended questions associated with each activity that can provide some formative assessment to the teacher in the form of whole class discussions.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.