Students will learn about animal adaptation, hibernation, and migration.
- What Do Animals Do In Winter?
- Two soup cans
- A piece of cotton batting
- Two thermometers
- Classroom clock
- How Does Fur Help Animals? (pdf)
Apple Tree Community
- Winter Lullaby, by Barbara Seuling; ISBN 0-15-201403-9
- Animal Migration, by Janet McDonnell; ISBN 1-56766-402-4
Background for Teachers
Many changes occur among plants and animals during the seasons.
Some animals hibernate for the winter, some migrate, and some stay
Intended Learning Outcomes
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Ask students what they do when it gets really cold outside. Tell
students that animals and plants must prepare for winter also, but in
different ways then we do.
- Read What Do Animals Do In Winter? by Melvin and Gilda
Berger. Discuss that during the winter, some animals travel or
migrate, some hibernate, some hide, some change color, and
some make changes to their bodies like growing extra fur.
- Discuss migration. Some animals migrate to find food or water.
Others migrate because they are looking for safe places to
raise a family. Other animals migrate to escape the cold. List
the animals that migrate (birds, monarch butterflies, reindeer,
- Discuss hibernation. Animals hibernate when food is hard to
find. Some animals are deep sleepers, and some animals are
light sleepers. Dormice, ground squirrels, and groundhogs are
three deep sleepers. They don't wake up at all. In fact, they
look dead when they are hibernating! Turtles and frogs bury
themselves in mud to hibernate.
- Some animals make adaptations to survive during the winter.
They can't put coats on like we do. For example, a fox grows
extra fur. The following experiment will show how fur helps
animals to stay warm.
How does fur help animals?
a. Glue the cotton batting around one of the soup cans. The
cotton batting will represent fur. Wait for the glue to dry.
b. Fill both cans with hot water. The can with cotton batting
c. Place a thermometer in both cans and record the temperature
of the water on the How Does Fur Help Animals? recording
sheet. Record the temperature in the cans every 10 minutes
for 30 minutes. What did you discover?
Apple Tree Community
- Prior to the lesson, copy an Apple Tree Community book for each child on heavy paper or cardstock. Fold and staple the books.
- Explain to the students that plants change with the seasons as
well as animals.
- Read the black line of the Apple Tree Community to the students.
Discuss ways that the apple tree helps the animals, and the
animals help the apple tree. Tell the students that they will get
to make their own book.
- Pass out the Apple Tree Community book to each student. Read
and discuss page one and two together as a class.
- On page three of the book, have the students color the bare
tree trunk. Then have them decorate the tree with small, ripped
pieces of pink paper or tissue paper. Next, have them color, cut
out, and glue the apple tree animals for page three onto the tree.
You will need to leave the book open until these pages dry.
- Read page four together as class. Then on page five, have the
students color the trunk, and decorate the tree with ripped
pieces of green paper or green tissue paper. Finally, have the
students color, cut out, and glue the apple tree animals for page
5 on the appropriate parts of the tree indicated by the words of
the story. Page four and five will need to be left open until the
- Read page six together as a class. Then have the students color
the trunk and decorate the tree with ripped pieces of green and
yellow paper for the leaves. The apples are ripe at this time.
Have the students use red pompoms or red circles to show the
ripe apples. Then have the students color, cut out, and glue the
apple tree animals on the appropriate places of the tree. Again,
wait for these pages to dry before moving on.
- Read page eight together as a class. On page nine, have the
students color the trunk, and glue a few ripped pieces of yellow
and orange paper on the tree to represent the leaves. Also tell
them that they will want to put a lot of leaves on the ground.
Have the students put a few apples on the tree and also some
on the ground. Cut out the squirrels on the apple tree animals
page for page nine. Have them glue the squirrels onto the page.
Wait for the glue to dry, and then have the students read and
share their books.
- Continue to discuss animal adaptations.
- Have the students write animal reports.
- Ask the students what animals do when winter comes.
- Have the students name three animals that depend on the apple
tree for survival, and name how the animals depend on the
Jiyoon, Y., & Onchwari, J. A. (2006) Teaching Young Children Science: Three Key Points.
Early Childhood Education Journal, Volume 33.6, pp. 419-423.
Science education should be described as "doing" instead
of just memorization of facts. For science to be successfully
taught, knowledge of child development, individual differences,
and sociocultural context, must be intertwined to develop a
developmentally appropriate learning experience. Using the
instructional model of the five "Es" (engaging, exploring, explaining,
elaborating, and evaluating) will result higher level thinking skills and