These classroom activities are designed to complement the Winter topic on BrainPOP Jr.

Winter Wonderland
Tell the class you will be taking an imaginary vacation to a winter wonderland. Have students brainstorm the kind of weather they might experience and the animals they might see. Have students share their ideas with the class. Where might people and animals live in this place? How cold might it get? How might people stay warm? Encourage students to be creative but remind them that they must consider the weather first and foremost. Then have students draw pictures of clothes they will need to stay warm in the winter weather. Go around the room, having students show their pictures and explain why they think they will need these items when they are on the imaginary trip.

#### Orbit

If possible, take your students outside or to a gym where there is plenty of space. Assign students to partners. One partner can act as the Earth and one student can act as the Sun. Ask all the Suns to stand still. Ask the Earths to identify where their Equator is. Where is their northern hemisphere? Where is their southern hemisphere? Where is their axis? Then ask the Earths to try spinning around their Sun in a circle, or orbiting. After they have had a chance to orbit a few times, ask students to switch roles. You may also want to talk about how long this orbit takes, and discuss how the Earth tilts towards or away from the Sun.

#### Hemispheres

Remind your students that Earth is tilted at an angle. Have students make a model of the Earth by painting small balls or Styrofoam spheres. Students can create the Earth’s axis by poking a stick through the center of the ball and then they can model its orbit around the Sun. Have students draw a red line to show the Equator on their models, and paint the northern and southern hemispheres different colors. Then have them make a model of the Sun. As students model the orbit, they can see how during winter, one hemisphere tilts away from the Sun, while the other tilts toward the Sun.

#### December Travel Guide

Working in small groups, have each group pick three countries: one in the northern hemisphere, one near the Equator, and one in the southern hemisphere. You may also want to divide your class into three groups and assign them countries. Students can go to the library or use the Internet to research weather in the countries throughout the year. Then have students make a vacation travel guide for the month of December to these countries. What is the weather like in December in each of these places? What are the local activities in December? How is their weather reflected in the way they celebrate any December holidays? Your students may want to draw pictures and cut out photographs from magazines as well as write a short description of each location. Have students share their travel guides with the whole class.

Filed as:  K-3, Science, Weather, Winter