Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Snow School

 It has practically been a snowpocalypse here in Arkansas, but school must go on (just not how you may think of school)! There are many ways to learn and so many things to learn about, so why not adjust our homeschool days to the current events? If you find yourself snowed in, here are some videos and activities to jumpstart your day of learning!

We started by learning about snowflakes:

How do Snowflakes form?

Did you know that the largest snowflake was 15 inches (YES, INCHES)? Make a paper snowflake that measures 15 inches if you have paper that big. We could only make 11 inch snowflakes. 

Can you imagine that falling from the sky? Learn more fun facts on Snowflakes.

1 septillion ice crystals fall from the sky each year in the US alone. Write that number out. It is a 1 with 24 zeros! 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

How does the volume of snow compare to rain? The first snowstorm dropped 7" of snow, so we filled a glass cylinder with 7' of snow and allowed it to melt. The kids wrote their hypothesis (best guesses) in their nature journal. Most of the kids though it would equal about 3.5" of water. 

They were shocked to discover that 7" of snow was equivalent to only 1 3/8" of water (or rain).

We also discussed the density of snow. A warning was issued that snow could collapse the roofs of industrial buildings. Most residential roofs can hold up to 20lbs of weight per square foot, while flat commercial roofs may collapse at a lower weight. We used the following parameters on this snow weight calculator to calculate how much weight per square foot could be on roofs in our area.

Snow Weight Calculator

1/2 inch ice (~2 pounds)
1" slush (~4 pounds)
4" settled snow (~6 pounds)
6" fresh snow (~2 pounds)

Total weight on roofs: approximately 14 pounds per square foot
That means that a 2,000 square foot commercial building could have 14 TONS of added weight on its roof. We could certainly see how that could stress a structure!

Speaking of buildings, we also did some research on igloos. There are so many great videos on YouTube, but here are a few we watched:

How to build a real Inuit igloo:

We didn't build an igloo, but we did build a few snow forts.

Not enough snow to build an igloo? You can draw one!


We even turned our igloo drawings into a short “i” phonics game. The eskimos had to “purchase” a snow block to build their igloo by reading the word.

Most of our tablework was done while sipping hot chocolate and eating a snow treat!

NingXia Red Snow Cones (Mix NingXia Red and fresh snow)

Snow Ice Cream (Mix large bowl of snow with 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 1 tsp. vanilla)

Maple Snow Candy (Heat maple syrup until it is in a soft ball stage and pour over packed snow)

I debated reading The Long Winter or The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe since it has been a few years since we have, but we were already in the middle of Esperanza Rising for our Great Depression unit study. We did pull out a bunch of winter books for the little ones.

Here are our favorite Snow Day Books:
Curious George in the Snow
Over and Under the Snow

And of course there was plenty of time spent outside getting plenty of physical education in nature's sensory bin!

Safety first! Before they bundled up and headed into the wilderness, we taught them some life skills. This is a great series on frostbite. Lots of big vocabulary words in this series, but our little ones got the basics (and our big kids learned some new words). We caught our five year old out there windmilling his arms to warm up.

While outside the kids noticed the birds and were concerned for them. This led to a discussion on how birds can survive winter.

We did not have any bird seed, but we put some oats in our window feeder. What fun it has been to watch all the birds visit. We studied Flying Creatures last year so it was a delightful review of the birds in our area. 

And then of course we had to draw some chickadees in our nature journal.

Curious minds wanted to know how other animals can survive such cold temperatures, so I pulled out some books on Alaska.

Then, because we are studying trees in Science right now, we drew some Birch trees in the snow.

Oh, and remember to love thy neighbor! They saw us lead by example as we checked in with our neighbors and we had our kids make some snow ice cream to bring to some other kids in our neighborhood.

Yes, we sure do go on a lot of rabbit trails and strayed from our usual curriculum this week, but it has been a fun week of learning and play. Now I’m ready for Spring 🤣. The next time I go sledding I hope it is at White Sands in warm, sunny weather!

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