Does snow reflect or absorb light?
Wait for a sunny day with fairly fresh snow. Lay a 12 inch square of black and 12 inch square of white cloth in a sunny location on the top of snow. Leave them for an hour. Return and note differences. What might have caused them? The black cloth will have absorbed more light energy which turned into heat and melted the snow. Try other colors. Predict what will happen.
Examine snowflakes. Catch snowflakes on cold, dark construction paper. The best time to collect snowflakes is early in a snowfall before the crystals begin to collide with each other sticking together into larger masses. Using a hand lens, look for patterns in the flakes.(see snowflake crystal guide) To preserve some shapes, spray with cold hair spray or lacquer. When the snow melts, an impression will be left. (see SNAP Shots Newsletter article)
After a fresh snowfall, go outside to look for evidence of the wind direction as the snow fell. In groups, students can bring their journals out and describe or draw what they see. If you have access to compasses, provide them as a tool. Otherwise, have them describe the orientation relative to landscape features (parking lot side, building side, etc.) Return to the classroom and bring the observations together. What can you conclude? Is there sufficient evidence to conclude this?
Go outside during a snowfall to listen. What sounds do you hear? Have two student continue to talk in an normal voice as they walk away from you. Stop them when you can no longer hear them.Why are sounds muffled during a snowfall? All the air spaces found within the snow crystal acts as a sound absorber causing sounds to be muffled. Repeat the activity when it is not snowing. What differences do you note?
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Have two students that weigh similar, walk across a snowy field. One student wears snowshoes, while the other is just wearing boots. Notice what happens. Why does the student with snowshoes sink into the snow less? Estimate the area of the bottom of the student's boots. Divide his weight by the surface area of both boots. How much weight is resting on each square inch? Measure the area of the snowshoes. Divide the students weight by the area of both snowshoes. How much weight is resting on each square inch? What does this say about staying on top of the snow. Cut out several square inch pieces of stiff cardboard. Lay them on top of the snow. Carefully rest the per square inch weight of the student wearing boots on one, and snowshoes on another. See SNAP Shots article for more information
Winter is an excellent time to investigate animal tracks. Look for fresh tracks. Draw the shape of the track. Measure the size. Do the tracks appear in pairs or alternate? How far apart are they? Look in a tracking key to find out what animal may have made them. Try to duplicate the kind of movement that might have the tracks.Try this with several patterns. Practice these movements throughout the day.
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Build a snowman that you can bring into the classroom. Set it in a tub that will catch the meltwater. Predict how long it will take to melt and how much water will result. Draw pictures or photograph every 30 minutes as it is melting. Note how it is changing. What melts first? Repeat another day. Bring in two. Dress one in a warm jacket. How long can you keep it from melting?
Build containers designed to prevent a snowball from melting. Weigh each snowball to make sure they are the same before enclosing them in the container. Examine them for melting every 30 minutes. What works best? Find a partner on the SNOW Mail list to exchange snowball containers with. Agree on a predetermined weight, enclose in a container and mail them to your partner. When you receive your snowball, pour off the water and weigh the remaining snow. Who had the most snow left?
Sam Gribley lives through the winter in a hollowed out hemlock tree in "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George. What are your favorite pieces of literature on a snowy theme? Share the title, author, short description, and why you like it. on the SNOW Conference Center.
"According to Kentucky folklore, the number of fogs observed during the month of August is the number of snows that fall during the following winter."Doesken, N.J., & Judson, A. (1996). The Snow Booklet. Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science.
Snow creates a huge economic burden on northern communities. Find out what the snow removal budget is for your community. Share what you found out.
Explore the schoolyard for snow sculptures created by snow piled high on an object or drifted by the wind. Give students time to explore and find something that has an appeal to them. They can name the piece of snow art on a card and insert it into the snow next to the artwork. Conduct a tour of the sculpture gallery. Send in some of our favorite pictures.
Send you favorite snow activities to Bill Lindquist email@example.com. I will add them to this list of extensions. Your activity will be credited to you.
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Last update: December 11, 1999