Materials

• Pie tins, one for each child
• Jar of small pebbles
• Tiny twigs for arms
• Large toy clock
• Chart paper

Developing Skills

• Observation
• Recording data
• Investigating
• Prediction
• Basic math and science concepts

Activity

The dead of winter is a great time to play with snow. Let children experiment and predict how long it will take for a snowman to melt inside the classroom.

Step 1: Tell children that they are each going to build a small snowman. This snowman will have only two sections, a body and a head. Show children what the first ball looks like and build a snowman with them watching. Explain that they need to be able to bring their snowman into the classroom in a pie tin.

Step 2: Once children make their snowmen, allow them to decorate the snowmen with the small pebbles and the tiny twigs.

Step 3: Have a designated area set up to display the snowmen in their pie tins.

Step 4: Hold a discussion about the length of time it will take before the snowmen completely melt. Time is a difficult concept for children to grasp at this age. Accept all predictions and make no judgment statements. The purpose of the lesson is for children to observe, record data, predict, and think in a scientific manner.

Step 5: Record children's predictions on a large chart and write down each hour that passes. Show children how each hour passes on the toy clock. Make references to what they have already done in your daily routine. This will help children make sense of the passage of an hour or three hours. Ask questions, such as: "Which snowman will melt the fastest?" "Will they all take the same amount of time?" "What will happen to the pebbles and twigs as the snowmen melt?"

Remember: Time is a difficult concept for children to grasp and younger students' predictions may be way off. You might give them a time limit on the number of hours they can guess.

Curriculum Connection: Science

On a day when it is snowing, take children outside to catch snowflakes on pieces of black construction paper. Observe the snowflakes through a magnifying glass. Invite children to count the points on each snowflake and discover that, despite being shaped differently, each one has six sides or points. Using white tempera paint or a white crayon on blue paper, suggest children draw and record a snowflake they observed. If it doesn't snow, show children enlarged photographic reproductions of snowflakes.