Jan 2018

Animals In Winter

Posted On: 01/11/2018
By: Kaitlyn Deis

With the weather becoming so frigid we began our study of animals in winter. Our discussion started with what the scientists already know… bears hibernate in winter!

The scientist were given many different animal pictures and divided into teams to hypothesize about what these animals do in winter! One team had to find the animals that hibernate, another animals that migrate and lastly animals that adapt.


We discovered some other mammals like raccoons and skunks also hibernate as well as many reptiles such as snakes and turtles, and amphibians like frogs, and even our friends the snails! The scientist then learned that some insects hibernate too! This form of hibernation is called diapause. Insects will find dry places where they are protected from harsh winter winds to survive winter. We even found some insect galls in the goldenrod on the back hill!galls

The scientist could not think of the word migration, however they knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked them what the geese and monarch butterflies do to survive winter. We discussed how other animals also need to travel to warmer climates such as hummingbirds, some whales, moose, and salmon!

Lastly, the scientists were fascinated by some animals that have the ability to adapt, or change, to survive winter! They discovered that some like the fox and rabbit start preparing for winter in the fall by consuming more food to create an extra layer of fat in their bodies and grow more fur to stay warm longer. Other animals like the ermine even change the color of their fur to make them camouflage with the snow and help protect them from predators.

The scientist enjoyed playing a game in the gym where they demonstrated the different winter survival methods! Below you can see them pretending to hibernate like a bear, migrate like geese, and changing their fur like the ermine.


On our next lab day the children were invited to create a string of cranberries and cheerios to leave for the animals that are still awake in our forest and trying to survive winter!

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The scientists each brought their stings to their favorite places to find stillness in the forest.


When we got back to the lab the scientists made a hypothesis about what would happen to the strings of cranberries… would a bird eat them, a fox, or perhaps we may find deer tracks where we left them.

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Stay tuned to find out what happened to our cranberries!