Winter Theme - Math & Science Activities
A winter theme offers many opportunities to learn math and science concepts. Snow days are a novelty here on the west coast of Canada, so when they do happen we are all very excited!
Teach symmetry, ordinal numbers, classification, review pattern, make a snowman graph and more.
Children observe and investigate winter weather, snow, ice, and temperature.
Science vocabulary can be introduced to describe states of water, frosty winter panes, and other winter objects and occurrences.
Winter theme math activities
Review ordinal numbers
The book, "The Mitten" by Jan Brett, is perfect for practicing ordinal numbers. As part of your Winter Theme, read and reread the book, then discuss which animal went into the mitten first? Which animal went in second? third?
See the next page for more ideas about "The Mitten".
Review calendar math
Review the names of the seasons, the months of the year, calendar vocabulary
Classify winter things
Every day bring a new group of winter objects, clothing or food into the classroom. Talk about how they are the same or different. Finish with a snowman winter word book.
Scarf pattern activity
- Cut a 12 x 18 sheet of colored construction paper in half
- Each side of the paper makes a scarf
- Let the children fringe the edges with scissors
- Then glue stickers on the paper scarf to make two rows of pattern.
- Collect and record data and make comparisons
- See Math Measurement page for details on how to have the children compare each day using red strips of paper.
Make a snowman name graph
- Students take one circle for each letter of their name and one more for a head
- Arrange finished snow guys on the bulletin board
- Count everyone's snowman balls
- Talk about - are there fewer (or more) names with 7 letters, 5 letters etc.
Winter theme science activities
Discover the power of ice
- Fill an empty jam jar to the top with colored water, place in a plastic bag on a tray in the freezer
- Discuss what happened. Why did the glass break?
- Have the children do an observation drawing of the jar before and after it goes into the freezer
Let the children play with snow to learn new vocabulary
- Fill the water center with a bucket of snow and sprinkle drops of food coloring mixed with water on it
- Let the children observe and play with the snow
- Use the terms such as "absorb, absorption, thaw, melt, liquefy, defrost, soften, dissolve" to describe the food coloring absorbing and the snow melting
- Give the children large classroom thermometers to observe the red liquid go up and down as they stick them in the snow
Observe and record data
- Make identical size snowballs and place them in bowls in various areas of the room, close to the heater, near a window, on the counter, etcetera.
- Observe and record on a class chart which snowball melts first, second, or third
- Stamp or draw pictures of the clock face when you start and when you finish.
- A large clock stamp is useful for many science activities. Although most of the children can not tell the time, they build concepts of periods of time passing and how the hands on the clock move about.
A winter theme is the ideal time to teach about the states of water
- Bring a kettle (a glass cooking pot and a burner is even better for observations) in to the room and let the children observe as you put a small amount of cool water in it and then watch the steam come out. Discuss why?
- Hold a cold piece of metal or Plexiglas above the steam and observe the condensation form. Ask the children why they think the water is forming on the metal.
- Pour a small amount of very hot water into a large jar, put a lid on it, hold it and let the children observe the steam filling the jar.
- Introduce the terms steam, vapor, gas, mist, fog, liquid, solid, evaporate, condensation and moisture
Always use a parent helper or aide when activities call for hot irons, water, or cooking. The parent helper has one responsibility - to guard the kettle or iron or hot water and make sure that the children do not get too close. That way you are free to engage with the children, have your attention diverted, without the worry of burns or scalds.
Teach about hibernation
- Read Time to Sleep (An Owlet Book) by Denise Fleming
- Talk about animals that sleep through the winter
- Introduce the word hibernate
- Have the children make a step-by-step drawing of a winter scene including a log, a pond, a tree and a rock
- The children glue animal pictures in the correct winter homes
- Make fold back flaps to glue on top.
- Give the children a shoebox cave and supply rubber animals that hibernate
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