Winter Season Units

The Wonders of Winter

For some people when they think of winter they think of frozen slush and sleet and freezing fingers and toes. Adults think of driving on frozen roads and cars that won't work in subzero temperatures.

But when you asked any child about winter, most think of tumbling through snow and building a snowman. Have you ever skated on a frozen pond? Do you like to ski down a mountain slope?

Winter is not all bad and life teems below the blanket of snow.

Let's look at some of these winter wonders but before we do, we need to give credit to the Creator for these beautiful winter wonders.

Psalm 74:17 says "It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter."

Identify that tree ----- But it has no leaves!

How do you identify a tree in the winter?

Most people identify trees by their leaves. But trees can be identified by other clues and one way is by the twig. Even though winter is here, there is still activity in plants and trees.

 First Clue

Terminal Bud - This is the bud at the end of the tip of a twig. It could have flowers or leaves inside. All winter buds are next years? leaves or flowers. There are all different kinds of buds. They have different sizes, shapes and smells.

Second Clue

Lateral Buds - The side buds are called lateral buds. Buds along the side or sides of the branches.

Third Clue

 Arrangement - The arrangement of lateral buds and branches is important.

   1. Opposite branching - This means they are directly across from each other.

 2. Alternate branching -  When buds or branches are alternating on either side of the stem and not directly across from each other. Most trees have alternate branching.

Fourth Clue

Leaf Scars -  This is where last year?s leaves were attached.

Fifth Clue

Bundle Scars - Marks on the leaf scar that may form a pattern of tiny dots or lines. The bundle scar marks the place where veins ran from the leaf stem to the twig.

Sixth Clue

Lenticels - Tiny holes or breaks in the bark scattered over the surface.

 Because only a few trees have opposite branching it is easier to remember them by an acronym.


  A  Ash

  D  Dogwood

BUCKING - Buckeye

HORSE - Horse Chestnut

Arctic Fox

 Some arctic animals camouflage themselves by exchanging their summer fur for a winter coat. The Arctic fox is unique because its fur changes color seasonally. Arctic foxes grow thick white or near-white fur in the autumn.  Their coat is blue grayish in the winter to chocolate brown in summer.

 Description: Round head, blunt nose, short rounded ears with short legs and a long fluffy tail.

Habitat: Arctic and alpine tundra on the continents of Europe and Asia, North America and the Canadian archipelago, Siberian islands, Greenland, inland Iceland and Svalbard. They live in burrows and dens.

Diet: The Arctic fox is a scavenger and hunter. During the autumn, this fox gathers ground squirrels, mice and lemmings, kills them, then stores the food supply just below the surface of the ground in a "veritable icebox", or "refrigerator."

 Predators: They can be eaten by polar bears or wolves.

Recognizing their tracks: Like other wild canine, their tracks tend to be oval. It also has fur on the soles of its feet, which protects its feet from freezing and helps it to walk on the ice without slipping.

Subnivean Habitat

 {Picture Credit: Marco Cibola}

What is subnivean?

Subnivean refers to a zone that is in or under the snow layer. From the Latin for "under" (sub) and "snow" (nives).

Subnivean animals include small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, and lemmings that must rely on winter snow cover for survival. These mammals move under the snow for protection from heat loss and some predators.

 Subnivean animals include small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, and lemmings that must rely on winter snow cover for survival. These mammals move under the snow for protection from heat loss and some predators.

  About Shrews:

A shrew or shrew mouse (family Soricidae) is a small molelike mammal. In general, shrews are terrestrial creatures that forage for seeds, insects, nuts, worms and a variety of other foods in leaf litter and dense vegetation, but some specialize in climbing trees, living underground, living under snow or even hunting in water. They have small eyes, and generally poor vision, but have excellent senses of hearing and smell. They are very active animals, with voracious appetites and unusually high metabolic rates. Shrews must eat 80-90 % of their own body weight in food daily.

 About Lemmings:

Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, in tundra biomes. They are subniveal animals, and together with voles and muskrats. Lemmings weigh from (1.1 to 4.0 oz) and are about (2.8 to 5.9 in) long. They generally have long, soft fur, and very short tails. They are herbivorous, feeding mostly on leaves and shoots, grasses, and sedges in particular, but also on roots and bulbs. At times, they will eat grubs and larva.

 About Voles:

 Certain animals, such as mice, weasels and shrews live under the snowpack. Because the earth gives off heat, it is warmer under the snowpack than to live up on top of the snow.

Winter Notebooking Pages

Winter Lapbook

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