Younger students get extremely engaged in learning when you explain winter weather to them through visual, and hands on activities. These lesson plans were created with education in mind, but also imagination. Give a child a way to learn through their imagination, and you give them a valuable tool they will carry with them forever!
An introductory ice lesson plan:
This is a hands on project that involves showing the children how water expands when it turns to ice. Discussions of the water volume when liquid, as opposed to when it is frozen can bring about many questions. Small children have their own ideas about space and matter. Let me give you an example of this.
Many times a younger student will express that when they grow up and the “grown up” gets small this or that will happen. This is common. They have the idea that in order for one to get adult size someone else has to get smaller. When dealing with expansion of ice, you will want to record all the funny comments and expressions of amazement these little minds will come up with. Don’t forget to snap some pictures too!
Here’s what you will need: Clear plastic containers such as empty soda pop bottles, or empty water bottles with lids. You will also need hot water to fill them partially (hot water freezes faster), and a permanent marker. You will need a scale to weigh the bottles on when frozen, and thawed. Lastly a tape measure.
Directions for part 1 of the lesson: Have the children fill the bottles to different levels, always leaving 2-3 inches at the top for expansion. Next place the clear bottles on a flat surface, and tightly fit the lids on them. Now you need to help your students mark all the way around the water line with a permanent marker. Lastly, either put the bottles outside the classroom in an outdoor freezing temperature or place them in a freezer.
*Tip: Allow the students to participate in the entire process. Do not be tempted to take over part of the process as this is a hands on lesson that requires the idea getting into the students mind through doing. All of their senses will be involved in this, so be prepared to be patient with your students.
Directions for part 2 of the lesson: After the water has had time to freeze, help the students bring the bottles inside for analysis. Immediately they will be talking about how cold they are now, and how heavy. This is a great time to weigh each jar, and write it on the chalkboard for them to see.
Next have your students help each other in groups of two, to measure the swollen bottles. They will be fatter around when frozen, and the ice will be swollen past the markings your students made earlier. This is a great time to discuss measuring the quantity by volume, and by weight. This will spur a whole host of questions, and discussion.
If this coincides with a chapter or lesson in their science book this is a great way to bring life to a book, and learning.
Lastly set the bottles somewhere on a towel or in a plastic tub to thaw out. Discuss with your students that you will come back to them later to see what happens to them. This in itself will have their creative minds zooming with wonder of what will happen to them.
Directions for part 3 of the lesson:
Once they have melted, have your students gather the jugs for new analysis. They will discover how they seem to have shrunk in size, and no longer feel so cold. Next proceed to do the same measurements, and weighing you did before, and write the results up on the board again. Point out the differences, and allowing them to participate in answering or asking questions, at this point.
An introductory snow lesson plan: This is totally a hands on lesson as well.
What you will need: Magnifying glasses for each student. Plain white printer paper, enough for each student to have at least two pieces. Scissors for each student.
Plan ahead, watching the weather. Send notice to parents to have their children dressed with gloves, and warm coat for an outdoor lesson on snow. If you are able to, have a safety basket of extra gloves, scarves, and hats, for those less prepared students.
Directions for the lesson: When there is snow on the ground, go outside to a flat yard of your school, and have the students look at snowflakes. Ask them to try to find two snowflakes that look exactly the same. Yes, these positive thinkers will undoubtedly promise you they found two the same. Encourage them on how they are different. Teachers you must be involved in this.
Once their minds are full of wonder and their noses are cold; take the class back inside. Now it is time to recreate what they learned.
Tell them they are going to make representations of the snowflakes they saw. Proceed to show them how to fold their piece of paper into a square, cutting off the remainder of the rectangle. You achieve a square by first folding the top right corner over to the left side. make a crease. You will have approximately 2 inches to cut off at the bottom. Unfold and flatten out the paper.
Next fold the paper into fourths. After you have folded the paper in half and half again, find the corner farthest away from the loose edges; this will be the folded edge. Next fold once more from that point making it a triangle. Now, show the students where to cut. They should cut the folded edges the least amount and the raw edges the most. The idea is to make the raw edges into a semi circle or a curve. this is how you achieve the snowflakes.
Displaying these snowflakes in your classroom or on the windows, is a definite way to keep this lesson fresh in their minds all winter long, not to mention, their creativity, and pride will soar!
I hope these science plans provide hours of fun and learning for you and your students. Science teachers can have the most fun, and education can be hands on for these little ones. Enjoy this winter as you create a perfect learning experience for your students.