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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winter: Who stays active?

In today's class we focused on discussing what happens in nature as we transition from fall into winter. The temperatures drop, the days get shorter, leaves fall off the tree, and food becomes sparse. People adapt to the change in the weather by wearing warm clothes, living indoors in warm houses, and buying their food at grocery stores. What do animals do that are active all winter? How do they survive? What adaptations do they have? To answer these questions we went out on a hike to look for signs of winter. 
We found lots of winter shelters including a large hole at the base of a tree and a series of mole tunnels through the meadow. We examined the pond for activity and learned how frogs and fish will burrow into the mud at the bottom of the pond to stay warm during the winter. 
After reading "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen, we got a close up look at a Great Horned Owl taxidermy and talked about the adaptations it has to survive during the winter. We learned that animals will grow thicker fur to keep them warm during the winter, some animals live under the snow which acts as an insulator, and some animals will huddle together to share their body heat. We pretended to be foxes hunting in the snow- listening with their amazing hearing abilities for small mammals scurrying below the snow. When we located our "prey" we lept into the air and pounced into the snow grabbing our food below.
We will continue our winter unit all December!

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