Winter-Themed Classroom Resources, Grades 6-8
Lessons, Activities & Resources Target Seasonal Changes
Though some of us will not get snow this winter, we share other annual changes. These lessons, activities, and other resources will help develop an understanding of the mechanisms that bring about seasonal change and how animals have adapted to them.
Lesson Plans & Activities
Modeling the Seasons
Students in grades 5-8 make Earth globes to model the seasons. Lesson includes teacher tips and two downloadable formats: Word and PDF.
ICS –Clouds( PDF, 1.43 MB, 31 pgs.)
In this module, students in grades 5-8 investigate how clouds affect temperature and five other aspects of clouds.
ICS - Precipitation ( PDF, 1.04 MB, 25 pgs.)
In this module, students in grades 5-8 investigate clouds and precipitation.
ICS - Weather ( PDF, 984 KB, 24 pgs.)
In this module, students in grades 5-8 investigate weather, precipitation, and extreme weather.
The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies
Students in grades 5-8 create a map to illustrate the fall migration of monarch butterflies.
ICS - Winds ( PDF, 1.13 MB, 23 pgs.)
In this module, students in grades 5-8 investigate how wind affects climate.
In this lesson, students in grades 6-8 build snow goggles similar to those used by the Inuit.
Games & Activities
Don’t Be Flaky
Students measure the relative densities of water, ice, and snow. Data can be submitted to the website and displayed with data from around the world.
Winter Math Activities
Mathematical activities involving fractals.
Igloo building guide
Tips and photos for building an igloo.
How to Make Snow for a Science Project
Use sodium polyacrylate crystals and water to make artificial snow.
Use the interactive planetarium of the Web to produce sky maps for any time and date, viewpoint, and observing location. Students and teachers can also set horizon views and use a virtual telescope to track comets and asteroids.
Time & Temperature Resources
Daylight Savings Time
A comprehensive resource on DST, Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time 2011: Why and When It Ends
History of DST and a brief discussion of positive and negative health effects.
Local Tine: FAQs
As well as FAQs, this page links to a free application that lets users find time zones based on zip codes.
Lake Effect Snowfalls
This resource explains how cold arctic air sweeping across the Great Lakes creates snow squalls along the lee shores of the Lakes.
Site Map for Weather Doctor
This comprehensive weather site includes a large section on winter weather.
The Center for Disease Control’s cold weather health advice.
Extreme Cold Prevention Guide ( PDF, 3.45 MB, 15 pgs.)
Combines all of the key content of the CDC Winter Weather website into one downloadable, printable file.
Severe Weather and Natural Disaster: Winter Storms
Information, experiments, and vocabulary for upper elementary students. Experiment with the Interactive Weather Maker to discover the effects of changing temperature and humidity.
This audio clip describes how scientists used ping pong balls to study avalanches.
All about Snow
The National Snow and Ice Data Center website provides photos, facts, questions and answers, and links to additional resources.
Wilson A. Bentley was the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885 and photographed more than 5000 snowflakes during his lifetime. The official website includes a biography, articles written by or about Bentley and his work, a match the snowflake game, and links to additional websites.
Kenneth Libbrecht’s online guide to snowflakes, snow crystals, and other ice phenomena includes photos and information about natural snowflakes, designer snowflakes, frost crystals, snowflake physics and snow activities. The snow activities section features activities for kids.
Description and explanation of the Koch Snowflake, a fractal made by the infinite iteration of the Koch curve.
Seasons of the Year
Provides an explanation for the season and answers to related questions.
Dispels common misconceptions about the cause for the seasons and explains seasonal lag.
Sunlight Concentration in Summer and Winter
A graphic showing the angle of sunlight in relation to Earth’s surface (45 degrees North) on the first day of summer and the first day of winter.
Provides viewing information for the Geminids which peak on the night of December 13/14.
2012 Meteor Showers
Viewing information for December’s meteor shower, the Geminids, and links to other useful stargazing information.
Meteor shower calendar for 2012
A comprehensive list of major and minor meteor showers.
How to See the Best Meteor Showers of the Year: Tools, Tips and 'Save the Dates'
Meteor shower calendar and general viewing tips.
Starry Night Education
Free astronomical resources for K-12 students and teachers.
Teacher’s Guide: Great Migrations ( PDF, 1.57 MB, 20 pgs.)
A viewing guide for the National Geographic program and related worksheets.
How Hibernation Works
Explains the physiology of hibernation.
Describes the black bear’s yearly cycle focusing on hibernation. Includes a section on heat loss.
The Science of Hockey
The physics, chemistry, and sport of Hockey. Use a calculator to learn how much force is generated in a check.
Energy Transformation for Downhill Skiing
The relationship between work and mechanical energy in downhill skiing is described and illustrated in an animation.
Print, Audio & Video
- Winter Poems and Rhymes
An anthology of winter poetry for children. All poems are printable.
Science of the Olympic Winter Games
The winter games are over but the science is timeless in this 16-part video series exploring the science behind Downhill and Aerial Skiing, Speed Skating and Figure Skating, Curling and Hockey, and Ski Jumping, Bobsledding and Snowboarding. The videos are accompanied by lesson plans and fun classroom activities.
- Great Migrations
Multipart series with interactives. Released on DVD in November.
- The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies
- Winged Migration
A documentary following several species of migratory birds including king penguins. (98 minutes)