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Monday Morning Ready03.02.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

Without magical ice princess powers, building the perfect snowman can be a serious challenge. Often people’s efforts turn out a little lumpy or lopsided and quickly melt into unrecognizable shapes. If you do decide to build one, it helps to have science on your side... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Identify one thing you learned about snow from this article. How can it help you build a better snowman?

Grade 5-6

Based on the information in the article, who do you think is building more snowmen this winter—kids in Connecticut or kids who live Colorado? Why?

Grade 7-8

Have you ever noticed the different categories of snow that the scientists in the article describe? If so, what happened when you tried to build a snowman with each type? If not, what do you think might happen?

Grade 9-10

In the article physicist Dan Snowman says, “Years of experimentation and research with my kids reveal a snow-to-water equivalence of about 5:1 yields the snow ideal for building the perfect snowman.” What kind of experiments do you think he did to reach this conclusion?

LESSON PLAN
Explore Point of View / Write in First Person

PROCESS:

  1. Select a character in a book that the class is currently reading. Invite students to identify and describe pivotal moments for that character in the plot.
  2. Brainstorm ideas about what could have happened if the character had done something differently.
  3. Instruct students to select one scenario. Then, in small groups, with a partner or on the own, encourage students to write a first-person narrative describing that event from the character’s point of view. Remind the class to include detailed descriptions of all characters involved in the scene. Tell them to also describe the setting and the event so readers understand the main character’s thoughts and actions as the situation unfolds. If necessary, review how to write in first person.
  4. Give students time to write their narratives. 

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their finished stories with the class. Encourage students to share what they liked most about each story. After hearing all of the stories, invite students to share examples of how authors used the character’s observations to tell the story from his or her perspective. Analyze how presenting the story from a different point of view could affect someone’s interpretation of the event.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Have students write their stories in small groups.  Then instruct students to answer three questions about each story: 1) Was the story about something that happened to the character? 2) Were there enough details for listeners to understand the characters and event? 3) Was the story told from the character’s point of view? 

Grades 5-6:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well the their fellow authors described the characters, setting and plot. Encourage them to offer suggestions for improvement.

Grades 7-8:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Instruct groups to discuss how each of their classmates used specific events to lay out the plot in their stories. Challenge them to identify specific elements each author included to ensure that the story was told from the character’s point of view. 

Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to write a story and have them share their stories with a partner. Then instruct partners to write a brief account of each other’s story from a third-person point of view. Challenge them to identify key differences in the two versions of each account. 

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Here’s How Disney Animates Snow
This Smithsonian article shows how Disney animators use computers to create snow for their films.

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