Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve
Winter 2014 Educators Newsletter
IN THIS ISSUE:
Walking trails are open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.
Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) hours
Closed weekends and holidays.
1750 East Beltline Ave. SE
Citizen Scientist Tool Box
This workshop is great for educators looking to incorporate real world data collection into their teaching, and involve students in projects that make a difference. Discover how your observations of nature can help scientists expand scientific knowledge by learning about a variety of citizen science programs in which you can participate. From Ebird, to Michigan HerpWatch, to the Great Lakes Worm Watch Project, we will highlight a variety of flora and fauna projects that need your help. Bring your smart devices to discover how these technology tools and other online resources can help you enjoy your outdoor exploration, identify species, learn more, and provide scientists with valuable data at the same time.
Register Today for Winter Programs
During the winter, we offer our Critters in the Cold program for grades Pre-K to 6th. This hands-on program allows students to learn more about how animals cope with the cold through one of the following methods: hibernation, migration, dormancy, or remaining active. It provides opportunities for the students to observe animals and/or signs of these animals in the preserve, and to discuss various adaptations that active animals use to survive Michigan winters. The program takes place both outside in the preserve and in the Bunker Interpretive Center.
For more information visit our website, or contact Julie Wilbourn to register your class. To register, we will need your name and school, desired program topic, grade level, number of students and adults, preferred dates/times, and the best way to contact you.
Inspiring Ideas for the Classroom
Each newsletter, we share with you some of our favorite ways to get students outside learning about the natural environment. You do not need to have forests or fields surrounding your school; school yards can work just as well for experiential learning. Our school yard activities are hands-on, require few supplies, and are easily adaptable to meet your students’ needs. We also include some of our favorite storybooks, art projects, and other resources to enhance learning in the classroom. Additional ideas and photos of art projects and storybooks can be found on our Pinterest page.
Of course, the perfect topic for this edition is snow. After a few years of very little snow, we are excited to see snowflakes gently falling outside the window nearly every day this winter. Children love snow; it’s a great way to engage them in outdoor learning in a school yard about the states of water and weather. Above all, snow is so much fun to play in! Below are some of our favorite snow activities and resources.
What Is Snow? Snow crystals form in clouds where temperatures are between 32 degrees and -39 degrees F. These clouds are made up of tiny water droplets and particles of dust and salt. The particles attract water molecules from the droplets in the cloud, and as more and more molecules gather on the particle, they freeze and build ice crystals - the start of a snowflake! As the crystals become larger, they begin to fall.
SCHOOL YARD ACTIVITIES
Materials needed (one each per student): Sheets of black construction paper, hand lenses, laminated copies of A Guide to Snowflakes
Materials needed: Snow
Invite students to make cool things out of snow by:
Storybooks are wonderful tools to introduce students to science topics. Information about these books can be found on our Pinterest page. Many of them have accompanying teacher’s guides on the publisher’s homepage.
Below are some of our favorite storybooks and non-fiction books about snow:
ART PROJECT: Six-sided Beaded Snowflakes
Materials needed: white chenille sticks, a variety of clear plastic beads, ribbon, scissors
Each student needs three pipe cleaners. Help them to twist the three pipe cleaners together in the middle, and then spread them out to form the six arms of a snowflake. Have the students thread beads on to each arm leaving a half inch or so of chenille stick at the end to fold back into the last bead. Attach a ribbon or string to hang the snowflake on.
Calvin College | 3201 Burton St. SE | Grand Rapids, MI, 49546 USA | www.calvin.edu