During our walks to Bridgewalk Pond the class started a conversation about animals in the winter. How do animals find food in the winter? How do they stay warm? What happens to the fish and frogs when the pond freezes? These questions sparked an inquiry into our investigation of Animals in Winter.
A few favorite books we read were Owl Moon, Over and Under the Snow, Stranger in the Woods, and The Bear Snores On.
We talked about how some animals migrate in the winter. While investigating migration, we learned specifically about geese. We often noticed on our walks, geese flying in a V formation. There were many questions like, “How do they know when to leave, and how do they find their way?” We also talked about whales, fish and monarch butterflies. Did you know that worms can migrate down six feet below the surface?
Another way animals survive in winter is hibernation. Everyone immediately thinks of the bear! We learned how these animals’ body temperature drops, and how their heartbeat and breathing slows down. These animals get ready for winter by eating extra food and storing it as body fat. Skunks, chipmunks, and bats also hibernate. The class created a bear cave, and the kindergarteners did some hibernating of their own!
Animals can also adapt to the winter weather. Some grow thicker fur. Other animals gather extra food in the fall and store it to eat later. Weasels and snowshoe rabbits grow white fur to help them hide in the snow. To stay warm, some animals huddle together or build tunnels in the snow.
After a lot of investigation, we wanted to create a project to show what we learned and put it all together. The kinders divided into three groups: land, sky, and ocean. Each group was set to design a habitat and began planning together. Then, the groups painted their backgrounds and used a variety of collage materials to create their 3D habitat. We then created our own animals out of toilet paper tubes and other materials, added them to our habitats and labeled each with their species and what they do to survive the winter.