Students will be able to observe, record, and describe signs of nature in winter.
Students create a nature trail and prepare a written guide for others to follow.
four clipboards with paper and pencils attached; four different coloured lengths of flagging tape or ribbon, each cut into 15 short strips; 60 washers for weight, one attached to each coloured strip; extra pencils or a pencil sharpener; and hula hoops
Snow is a wonderful medium for observing nature. Tracks, wing marks, tunnels, droppings, and signs of feeding provide a “snow record” of wildlife goings-on. There is always something to discover in the snow!
- Divide the class into four groups. Explain that each group will map out a nature trail and make a written guide for other students to follow. Each guide will identify 15 unique points of interest along the trail. These could be signs of animals or humans, interesting snow formations, plants, rocks – anything the students encounter and can describe in a few words. Give each group a clipboard, paper, and a pencil.
- Take students outside to a starting point for the four trails, such as a lake shore, clearing, or field. Assign each group a separate starting point. Instruct the groups to make fresh linear or loop trails from their starting points, depending on space. Have students jot down a short description for 15 obvious points of interest as they walk along their trail. Caution them about walking off their trails in case they trample their points of interest. Hula hoops can be placed around the points of interest to prevent them from being trampled. NOTE: Groups who finish their trail-making early may practise stamping out “SOS” in the snow.
- When all trails are complete, collect the guides. Give each group another group’s guide and a set of ribbons. Students are now to follow the trail guide and place a weighted ribbon next to the trail when they find the described point of interest. (You may prefer to tie a ribbon to a stick poked in the snow.) NOTE: Groups who finish early may practise stamping out SOS in the snow.
- Optional: return each guide to its original group. Have each group retrace its own trail to see if the others were able to find all 15 points of interest. Ribbons and hula hoops may be collected at the same time.
- Instead of writing a guide, each group could identify points of interest with a weighted ribbon (perhaps making brief notes on a clipboard). Groups could then give each other verbal tours of their trails.
- Give each group a reward to hide at the end of its trail. Clues to the whereabouts of the rewards may be given as the last item in the trail guides.
Have the students include scents as points of interest on their trail. Examples include, pine needles, cedar branches, or crushed leaves.
- List five signs of nature found in winter.
- Prepare a written or oral report with a step-by-step explanation of how their group developed its guide.
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