Forest Classroom

Bounding, hopping, walking and waddling through the snow!

Week 3

This week the sun caught us by surprise! The weather had said to expect temperatures as low as 11°F, but instead we experienced a balmy winter wonderland. Big, fluffy snowflakes were dropping from the sky as the students arrived, but by snacktime the sky was blue and we could feel the suns warmth on our cheeks.

We started our day with some free play in the front yard. Emily and I were absolutely LOVING the friendships and teamwork we saw blossoming while students built forts together, shared shovels or sleds and played make believe together. We built a few awesome sledding spots and attempted to make a vertical snow tunnel!

Sledding down one of the paths we created! Photo: Audubon Vermont
snow tunnel
Digging a snow tunnel. Photo: Audubon Vermont

Playing and walking through the snow is hard work, so after free play we headed to Forest Camp for snack. Emily built us a fire and I read the group Over and Under the Snow  by Kate Messner. It's a great book with cute illustrations that share the world that exists beneath the snow, aka the subnivean zone. This book was a great segway into our next activities. We've been building on our tracking skills each week. Last week, we had a brief overview of the different clues to use as your tracking: place, pattern and print. This week, we are focusing on pattern. Before jumping into the pattern activity, we played a game to help us practice asking meaningful questions called 'Who Am I?' During this game every student has an animal clipped to their back and they must ask a series of yes or no questions to figure out who they are. This helps us think of very specific questions in order to solve who we are. For example, we learned that it's more effective to ask "Am I bigger than..." rather than "Am I small?" At this point the sun was beaming down on us and we we're so thrilled that we forgot to take pictures of this activity. 

Eating snack around the campfire. Photo: Audubon Vermont

Then we moved onto practicing pattern! There are four different patterns: waddlers, walkers, hoppers and bounders. For each pattern, the students studied a card that demonstrated the pattern and then they used laminated cards of prints to replicate it. Once the pattern was all laid out, the students practiced what it would be like to walk as the animal. It was very amusing for all of us! 

Studying the waddler pattern of a black bear. Photo: Audubon Vermont
Laying the bear tracks out in their waddling pattern. Photo: Audubon Vermont
Laying out tracks of the bobcat in its walking pattern. Note: A very tired bobcat in the top left corner. Photo: Audubon Vermont

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Once we finished up practicing our patterns, we ended the day with free time. 

Snow kitchen! Photo: Audubon Vermont
Sledding! Photo: Audubon Vermont

Can't wait for next week!

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