Winter Is Here! Extension Activities
Students use their five senses to explore snow (or crushed ice).
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
This activity has adaptations for those who live in warm climates.
Science Notes: Are snow and crushed ice the same? While it is true that both snow and ice are frozen water, the frozen crystals in snow are interspersed with more air then are the frozen crystals in ice. That is why one cup of snow melts faster than one cup of ice and results in less water.
- snow or crushed ice
- resealable plastic bag
- brown paper lunch bag
- chart paper
Out of sight of the children, fill the plastic bag with snow (or crushed ice). Seal the bag and put it inside the brown paper bag.
Teaching the Lesson
- Show the bag to the children and ask them to predict its contents. Establish that this is difficult to do because they can not see, feel, smell, touch, or taste its contents!
- Allow volunteers to gradually gather information using their five senses. First, have a volunteer hold the top of the bag to feel the weight of the contents. Next, have another child feel the bottom of the bag to explore the form. Then, demonstrate how to stick your nose inside the gathered top to smell without looking. Let several children reach inside the plastic bag in order to feel the snow. No peeking! After each observation, discuss which one of the five senses students are using to gather information. Finally, pull out the snow for all to see.
- List each of the five senses on chart paper. Give each child a tiny bit of snow or crushed ice to hold. Ask: How does snow look, taste, smell, etc. Record students' words on the chart paper. If you've got snow in your area, take the class outside to expand on the list. Bring along a clipboard to record new words. Add them to the chart.
- Have students use their ideas to write poems about snow. Here's one format they can follow.
- white (a sight word)
- cold (a touch word)
- crunchy (a sound word)
- clean (a smell word)
- frosty (a taste word)
Use the class-created poetry to make a bulletin board. Ask several children to copy the poems onto nice paper. Display the poems on the bulletin board. Other children can make coffee-filter snowflakes to sprinkle around the poems. (Demonstrate how to fold a coffee filter in half three times then snip around the edges with scissors. Open it up to reveal a unique snowflake design.)
Robert Frost's classic poem is brought to life by soft, wintry drawings in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (E.P. Dutton, 1978). Read the poem once without showing the pictures. Ask children to close their eyes and paint snowy pictures in their minds as they listen. Read the poem again and show the pictures. Talk about how illustrator Susan Jeffers interpreted the poem. Ask: What were you picturing? Check out what other poets are writing about the snow in It's Snowing! It's Snowing! by Jack Prelutsky (Greenwillow Books, 1984 ), a collection of more than a dozen fun-to-read poems.