Ok, I know I just did a post on snow, but there is so much to winter I had to divide all the different fun aspects of winter into a few more options. I always had a hard time finding things to teach about that began with I. There was the traditional I for Ice cream, but I had some kids that were in my class for up to 3 years, I couldn’t do the same Ice cream unit three years in a row. Suddenly, I started to notice how my winter unit kept getting so full, I wasn’t getting everything done in one winter unit. That’s when I came up with the various aspects of winter like, snow, ice, snowmen, mittens, Igloos, arctic animals and or Polar animals. You can even break down the polar unit into penguins, polar bears, and seals. From this division of my winter unit, I began to use I for Ice and I for igloo on the other two years opposite my ice cream unit. Here is the part of my winter unit entitled I is for Ice. A very fun and interesting unit, that the kids always seemed to enjoy. Hope you like it too.
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Ice cube painting: For Ice cube painting I get a bunch of cheap ice cube trays from garage sales, preferably dark colors so as not to stain them with the food coloring later. Then I take 2-3 drops of food coloring per cube, add water till full, but not overly full that they run into the cube next to them, and place them in the freezer. Note: I usually do this part at home, while I am getting ready for my next day. Make sure to keep frozen. Do not take them out till just a few minutes before you use, because other wise you will just have water colors. Take the cubes out a few minutes before use, because this will allow them to melt slightly, so that they can come out of the containers easier.
I try to have the kids wear gloves and plastic smocks to keep clean. You could try and freeze Popsicle sticks in the cubes, but I haven’t had much luck with that method. I usually wear plastic gloves, even if they are a little big, it just helps keep the hands cleaner. Otherwise just have lots of soap available. You may even want to warn parents to let their kids wear yucky clothes that day, because of the art project. However, once you get everyone geared up, I use water color paper, because it holds up to the water better than construction or copy paper. It will work with the other two papers, if you just can’t get water color paper, but the construction paper, will get kind of pilly, and the copy paper might tear. I just warned the kids to be careful. Finally, you just let the kids use the ice and push it around the paper to create beautiful water color art work.
Pipe Cleaner Ice Cycles: For this project I use white or silver pipe cleaners, 2 clear faceted crystal plastic beads size 4mm, 3 clear 6mm clear faceted crystal plastic beads, 3 light blue faceted beads 8mm, and finally I use 3 light blue round faceted plastic transparent starflake beads 12mm, and 2 dark blue round transparent starflake beads 18mm. You will also need trays, and dixie cups. I also recommend if possible, having a sample, pre-done, as well as a real icicle.
Introduction: I quickly ask the students what I am holding up (as I am holding up the Icicle up.) Then I ask them what they know about icicles? Where do we find them? How do you think they grow? (Science objective: Growth of an icicle.) I go through how the icicles grow. Then I ask: looking at the icicle, if we say the pointy part is the bottom, does the bottom start small or big? Lastly I introduce the project by saying we are going to be making our own icicles to hang in our classroom. So do you think we start with the biggest or the smallest beads? Hopefully they will say smallest. and build up to the biggest. Then let’s get started on building our icicles.
Directions: You Make a small loop at the bottom of the pipe cleaner and have the kids sort the beads smallest to biggest. ( I used those small plastic dixie cups, I call them the tooth brushing cups. I put all their beads in the cups and then have them sort them on a lunch tray, Even if the trays have sections that actually works well because then they can use the sections to sort out their beads. (Math objective is sorting, and smallest to largest.) While they are sorting, I go through and turn all their pipe cleaner ends just so their beads don’t fall off. (Fine Motor Objective: Placing the beads on the pipe cleaners) Next I have them carefully put on the 2 smallest clear crystal beads, and I have them count how many beads should we be putting on if its just the smallest? 2. I go through the same process with each additional set of beads. Until the last 18mm beads are on. then we twist the end into a loop so we can hang them up in the classroom, or on a Christmas tree.
Icicle chalk art : Need: Icicle cut outs, chalk, black paper.
Directions: Have each student hold down one of the icicle cut outs, and then use chalk or pastels and rub the sides along the edge of the icicle, then have them blow the chalk off the black paper, to give it a sprayed look. Do this multiple times, to create a glowing icicle effect. If you want you could use just white and blue to create a more icicle feel.
Literacy:Books: Ice House, Three Snow Bears, and Ice is…Whee! Nonfiction books about ice sports or professions, or ice science books.
LES: Language experience story about all the ways we use ice. Use their prior knowledge to write a nonfiction story about ice. I usually also review what a nonfiction book is.
I activities: Tracing I Sheets, Icicle aplphabet dot to dot, Tracing I for icicle.
Pipe cleaner Icicles: directions above.
Icecube and Popsicle stick Hockey: (Need: two pool noodles with a slit cut down one side so you can attach it to a table, Popsicle sticks, ice cubes and a rectangular table.
Introducion: Can you name any sports played on ice? hockey, ice skating, speed skating, hurling, well pretty much any winter sport, because you think about it, snow is very tiny ICE crystals. Well we are going to play a miniature version of Hockey. Only two people can play at a time, unless of course you have extra rectangle tables. Two per table. (If I can I like to plan this unit around the winter olympics also. It makes for even more fun watching and discussing the olympics and having our very own ice hockey olympic game in the classroom)
Directions: Each player gets a popsicle stick or tongue depresser, and one icecube per table. The goal is to get the ice cube off the other end of the table by your opponent, but if it goes over a pool noodle or flies off the table, that’s high sticking and you get a point taken away,
Just a thought: You could easily turn this game into a hurling game too, make some paper bullseyes and place them at both ends of the table with contact paper over, how close they could get their ice cubes to the bulls-eye. Just a fun thought haven’t tried, it but definitely going to when my girls have a snow day.
Visit: You could maybe have a hockey player come in and talk about all their equipment, and what it is for. You could do the same with any of the other ice sports we discussed.
Ice Cubes: For this make sure you have a drain on the bottom of your sensory table or do this in a smaller bin, so that once the ice melts, you can dump it out easily. I go and find as many different type os icecubes I can find. Now days they have all different shapes, round, square, rectable, half moon, and even unicorn, or star wars shaped ones. Whatever you can find is fine, just so they have different shapes to experiment and play with. I would also make sure to have a sand and water matt down on the floor. I had a blue one, and I loved that thing. It absorbed water so no one would slip and capture the sand so I could just vacuum it up and again keep kids from slipping. Best investment I made in my teaching career. You may want to include some plastic animals like penguins, seals, whales, etc.
Field Trip Ideas:
Ice Arena, frozen Pond, or a trip around the school to find icicles.
Social Studies:Ice sculpture artist: invite an ice sculptor to come and speak to the class about their job and demonstrate for the class. You could also have an ice skater or some other person who works in an ice related field.
Icicle science: Looking for Icicles out side, and talking about how they are made. Slowly over time, with melting in the sun, and freezing at night. God’ creates these amazingly beautiful little sculptures that hang from all over his creation.
Unfreezing Anna:For this you can use barbie, a real Anna doll, or Gi Joe. Whatever plastic figurine you may want, but one you don’t care if it remains perfect. Place the figure in a small container. I find those sandwich meat plastic containers work well or if you have a taller figure a large yogurt, butter, or sour cream container. Then you stick a figure in a container and cover with water. You may want a few of them for experimentation purposes.
Experiment: What method unfreezes a figure faster, heat, salt, water. First we predict or guess what is going to happen, which is going to unfreeze first. Then we place one, in a bucket in front of a heater, one in a bucket and dump salt on it, and one in a bucket filled with room temperature water.
Gross Motor:Freeze Tag: play tag but when you get tagged you have to freeze, last person not frozen gets to be it. If you have a more advanced class, you can have the other kids able to unfreeze kids, up to 3 times. If you are frozen three times, you now become it.
Paper Plate Ice Skating:
(Need: paper plates, and carpeted area)
Have the kids step on paper plates, one for each foot, and practice sliding our feet like ice skaters. If they pick up their feet they will lose their skate, so they have to slide. This is usually a huge hit, especially if you include music for them to “skate” too.
Snack:Fudge pops: make pudding, place in plastic tooth brushing cups let freeze for about 10 minutes, then add in the sticks for a handle.
Kool Aide Ice Pops: Make kool aide or any juice and freeze in tooth brushing cups for about 15 minutes, stick in the popsicle sticks to create handles.
Icie Pops: Those juice stick popsicles, that you push up.
The story of the Man who built his house upon the rock: The foolish man built his house upon the sand, and the smart man built his house upon the rock. Then when the storm came and the waves came up, the house that was built on the sand crumbled, because the sand was not a firm foundation and it melted away from under the house. Meanwhile, the house up on the rock, stood firm and strong in the storm. We build our hope and our faith on the rock of Christ. We do this by continuing to study his word. We are kind of like icicles. Icicles grow by adding water that melts and then refreezes. It gets stronger each time that it adds to its foundation and it gets bigger too. Let’s be like icicles and continue growing bigger and stronger in our faith by relying on our foundation, Christ Jesus. We do this by studying his word, going to church, reading our bibles, singing bible songs, and talking with our family about our firm foundation Jesus.