While some people might migrate to warmer climates, and others wish they could hibernate all winter… humans have to adapt. For us this means wearing winter clothes, turning the heat on in the house and eating warm foods.
Let’s listen to the story Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle and learn about how a family prepares their farm for the long winter months.
Make a chart of the things you need/have/can to do to get ready for winter.
In the winter, some animals fur change color. Not all animals with fur change color, but some do and scientist have some ideas as to why. One being that they blend better with the snow. They also believe it might be that the lack of melatonin with creates the color allows for air to be trapped in the hair creating a buffer from the elements.
Hares are one animal that changes color. Not all rabbits change but the Artic hare, mountain hare and snowshoe hare are among those who change. (other animals that change color include: artic fox, Siberian hamsters, Ptarmigans [a type of bird], collard lemmings, peary caribou, and weasels)
Over the last two weeks, we have discussed how animals get ready for winter. We learned about migration and hibernation. Now lets talk about adaptation. Adaptation is when animals change or adapt to the cold of winter. This change my be a physical change such as the color of their coat or the thickness of their fur.
Let’s listen to the story: Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. In this story we learn about how animals continue to move and live during the snows of winter. You hear about both animals that are hibernating and those that have adapted to the winter environment.
Today let’s create a chart about animals that migrate, hibernate and adapt to winter. You can either focus on a specific ecosystem of animals (a pond, the forest, your backyard etc…) or just list animals in general. I will list pond animals.
I thought we would end our week on hibernation with a fun fiction story. Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows tells the story of many forest creatures getting on a hibernation train.
In the story, you learn about more animals that hibernate: bats, snakes, chipmunks, groundhogs, skunks and more. There is so much more to learn about animals that hibernate. I hope you pick your favorite hibernating animal and learn a bit more.
Let’s draw a picture of the hibernation station train. Where would you put all the animals? Would it be made of logs or something else? Get creative
Many animals who migrate or hibernate depend on insects for food… so what happens to insects in the winter? Well we know that butterflies migrate, so do dragonflies. What about everything else? Well the best answer to this is… it depends on the insect. Check out this information from the Smithsonian. You will see that some survive as larva, pupa, eggs and even some as adults hibernating. The key they have is by being able to create their own anti-freeze.
So what do bees do? They huddle together and move their wings to stay warm. So while they are not hibernating in the sense of lowering their body functions, they still are not doing anything but staying warm. They put all their energy in keeping the queen warm. It’s almost like the other bees are trying to be a blanket around the queen. A queen bee quilt?
So… today make your own queen bee quilt. Will you use squares, rectangles, triangles or even hexagons, just like the bee hive? Will you draw it or make it out of cut paper? Will you have one pattern or a collection of patterns? It is up to you… it is your quilt
When you think about animals that hibernate, I bet frogs do not come to mind. But, did you ever wonder what happens to frogs during the winter? Think about it. They live near water, they are cold blooded, the eat insects, but they can’t migrate somewhere warm… that’s a long distance to hop!
Let’s listen to a few fiction stories about frogs dealing with winter.
Do you think that frogs really just get dressed in warmer clothes and try to stay warm in the winter? Do they snuggle down in their beds under layers of blankets? Nope…
Frogs hibernate, but when frogs hibernate it is very different from bears and other mammals that hibernate. Frogs don’t have fur. They can’t regulate their body temperature. So… frogs actually freeze. Yes, you read that right. Frogs ice over, but stay alive!
Whales spend their summers by the poles and the migrate to warmer waters near the equator for the winter. A large reason for this migration is to have their young in the warmer waters since babies are born with less blubber and would not survive the cold waters near the poles.
Whales do not eat during their migration and what they eat depends on the type of whale. There are two large categories of whales toothed whales, which have teeth (which include the beluga, narwhal, dolphins and other porpoise). These whales are predators and eat other animals. The other group of whales are baleen whales (including blue, humpback and gray whales). These whale eat by sifting out prey in the waters they swim.
Baleen whales are larger and most migrate long distances to protect their new calves. Such as these migration paths below:
Gray whales, which migrate between Alaska and Russia and Baja California
North Atlantic right whales, which appear to move between cold waters off the Northeastern US and Canada to waters off South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Humpback whales, which move between northern feeding grounds and southern breeding grounds.
Blue whales. In the Pacific, blue whales migrate from California to Mexico and Costa Rica.
Manatees are gentle marine mammals. They cannot survive in waters below 60F (16C) and barely tolerate temperatures below 68F (20C).
In the summers Florida Manatees, a subread of the West Indian Manatee, can be typically be found from the coast off Virginia and then around Florida and over to Texas. But in the winter months they can only be found off the coast of Florida. They need to move inland towards more natural springs to find warmer waters and food.
So why do manatees migrate? Even though they weight nearly 1/2 a ton, they do not have much body fat. So they are unable to withstand the temperature changes in the water during the winter. Manatees are herbivores who munch on sea grass and can move between fresh and salt water areas. They move slowly and spend half the day sleeping.
This week we will focus on the topic of migration. So…. what is migration? Migration is when animals move from one place to another to survive. This is done to find the resources needed to survive (food, water, shelter, and space). Check out this and more facts here.
Today we will make a can, are, need chart for animals that migrate. Create a chart and have your child illustrate or dictate the things that migrating animals can, are and need. Such as migrating animals can travel long distances. Migrating animals are moving to meet their basic needs. Migrating animals need to find sources of food. (or in simpler terms… Migrating animals can walk, fly, swim, move etc…. Migrating animals are deer, whale, birds etc.. Migrating animals need food, water, shelter, etc…)
Over the next few weeks, we will explore what animals do to get ready for the winter. Today we will do an overview of this topic and then tomorrow we will begin our week long focus on migration.
Did you ever think about what animals need to do to get ready for the winter months? Ask your child what they think animals need to do. Let’s use a graphic organizer to get our thoughts in order! I have suggested 3 different types from easy to complicated (from simple information to a collection of knowledge)
Create a circle map. Draw two circles inside the other. On the inner circle write How animals get ready for winter.
Brainstorm ways you know animals get ready for winter and write it on the inside of the outer circle.
Ask… how do you know that? Write this information on the outside of the outer circle.
Create a KWL (know, want to know, learned) chart with your child.
K–Brainstorm with your child what they already know about animals getting ready for the winter. (there are no wrong answers here)
W–Brainstorm what they want to learn about this how animals get ready for the winter. (there are no wrong answers)
L-What did you learn about animals getting ready for the winter. Review new information and misconceptions on the K part.
Create a Schema Map (what I know, connections to what I learned and enlightenment of misconceptions). Divide a wall, window, chart paper whatever into 3 sections (schema, new knowledge and misconceptions)
On post it notes write down your schema (prior knowledge) one thought per post it
As you learn (listen to stories, participate in experiments and experiences, and other research), write down new learning on a different color post it. Connect the knowledge to schema when you expand on prior knowledge.
Move schema post it’s into misconceptions as you disprove the misconception (use another color sticky note to show the why)
Now listen to these stories and see what information you have learned, confirmed or now can disprove a misconception… add these facts to your charts!