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Compare and Contrast Winter Locales

Students will conduct research to record basic facts about winter where they live and one other place in the world. They will create a display comparing and contrasting how winter is different in these two places.

PROCESS:

  1. Invite students to take a look out the window. Or, if your classroom doesn't have a window, instruct students to think about what it was like outside when they came to school this morning. Encourage volunteers to describe what they saw and felt. 
  2. Based upon students' descriptions, summarize what winter is like where you live. Ask students if this winter so far is normal for your location. If not, is it milder than usual or more extreme? Why?
  3. Guide students to understand that two winters in one place can be very different. So can the same winter in two different places. Changes in climate and location can affect temperature, the amount and type of precipitation and even the time of year winter occurs.
  4. As a class, review the details about visiting Yosemite National Park at the end of the article. Have students conduct research to record similar information about winter in your area. Then have them choose one other place in the world and investigate winter conditions there. 
  5. Once students have collected their data, give them time to create a display comparing and contrasting winter in these two places.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their displays with the class. Encourage students to explain how learning about winter in different places broadened their understanding of winter.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
As a class, conduct research to record basic facts about winter in your area. Then divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to pick one other place in the world where winter would be very different from what they're used to. Give them time to conduct research and record facts about that place, too. Then, give each group a piece of poster board. Have groups create a Venn diagram with pictures and facts to compare and contrast winter in these two places.  
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to conduct research to record basic facts about winter in your area and one other place in the world where winter would be very different from what they're used to. Then, give each group two notecards, one shoebox and access to art supplies. Instruct groups to cut their shoeboxes in half. On the halves, challenge them to make dioramas that show winter in each place. Then have groups record facts about the two places on the notecards. Instruct them to attach the notecards to the corresponding boxes.
Grades 7-8: 
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to conduct research to record basic facts about winter in your area and one other place in the world where winter would be very different from what they're used to. Challenge them to create a digital display comparing and contrasting winter in these two places. 
Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to conduct research to record basic facts about winter in your area and one other place in the world where winter would be very different from what they're used to. Then have partners create a digital display comparing and contrasting winter in these two places. As part of their display, challenge them to highlight winter weather "oddities" that have occurred in each place.