Seasonal Changes
Students will understand seasonal effects on plants and animals
Students will be able to identify physical changes caused by the seasons.
Plants and animals are affected by the changing of the seasons. In the winter time there is less food for the animals. This forces some animals to leave the area, migrating to locations where food is more plentiful. Many birds migrate, as do reindeer and monarch butterflies. Some animals hibernate through the winter, many rodents do this as do queen bumblebees and frogs. Animals hibernate in places that are protected from the freezing weather. A woodchuck sleeps deeply all winter (hibernates) Its body is cold, and it barely breathes. It is almost impossible to awaken a hibernating animal. Still other animals make do with food that is still available in winter. Deer eat twigs and bark. Many animals give birth in spring. Thus the rapid growing period of the baby animals takes place during a time when food is most plentiful.

Geese fly south where it is warmer, for the winter. Explain that many birds and other animals move or migrate in the fall to other places. Scientists are not sure how animals know when to migrate. Some scientist believe that as the weather gets cooler, the amount of food available in a region decreases. This may cause animals to migrate.

In the spring and summer, when there is much sunlight and the days are warm and long, the leaves will produce a lot of green color, chlorophyll. there are other colors in the leaves, but the green color covers them . In the fall, when there is less sun and the days are cool and short, the leaves stop making the green color. Then the other colors in the leaves begin to show. Explain that when a tree loses its leaves in fall, it does not die. Its growth slows down in winter though, because it cannot make food without its leaves. Next year's leaves already have formed inside tiny buds. when spring returns, the buds will open, and leaves will begin to grow. Leaves Movie from BrainPop



Read The Season's of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons (HBJ, 1984)

A Bear for All Seasons by Diane Marcial Fuchs, Illustrated by Kathryn Brown Published by Henry Holt and Company, 1995

Make a chart - After you have read the books about seasons to your students, ask them to tell you things they learned that can be written on the chart. Display and add to the chart throughout your study of seasons.

Take the students outside in the autumn to collect leaves. Iron the leaves between wax paper cut into strips and use as bookmarks.

Fold a sheet of paper into fourths, label each fourth a season. Have students draw a picture of how a tree would look in each season.

Cut a large tree skeleton from brown construction paper. Mount on a bulletin board, door or wall area. Each season, decorate the tree and its surroundings with seasonal changes.

spring---new buds and blossoms, birds and bird nests

Summer--green leaves and fruit

Fall colored leaves pumpkins, turkeys

Winter snow small animals storing food

Ask students how the seasons may affect animals. Have students read Something Froggy about the life cycle of a frog. Ask the students to fold a paper in quarters and draw what Frederick may do in each season. Students may choose different animals to research to learn about life cycle.


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