As adults, we may simply think of snow in terms of how much we have to shovel before we can leave for work in the morning. However, as grade 1 students at Aurora Elementary learned, there is much more to snow than inconvenience; there is an interesting and impressive science behind snow.
The day began with an informative classroom presentation by Kathy Schwengler from the Eagle Point - Blue Rapids Parks Council. Students learned about the types and shapes of snowflakes, and were amazed to find out that the largest recorded snowflake was the size of a dinner plate! The program also included a history of human adaptations to winter conditions, and how animals are able to survive Alberta’s harsh climate.
To further understand the properties of snow, the grade 1 students headed outside for a hands-on lesson. Building quinzees for small animals illustrated the insulating properties of snow, while looking at snowflakes through magnifying glasses showed their intricate and unique structure.
Finally, our scientists strapped on snowshoes to experience how animal feet adaptations help them to stay on top of the snow.
Teacher Cora Turner says, “The program covers curriculum from our Needs of Plants and Animals and Seasonal Changes units in grade 1 science”, and the snowshoe portion “is part of our phys. ed. curriculum - outdoor and lifelong physical activity”.
The Science of Snow program allows students to see snow in a new and exciting way; embracing the inevitable winter season is truly our legacy as Canadians!
Photo and article by: Ashley Gaehring