The Whales classroom was immersed in the concept of hibernation this week. We took a Hibernating Bear Walk, first exploring why food is harder to find (and detect with our sense of smell) in the frozen winter. We smelled and ate berries and nuts, and then tried to detect (and eat!) those same berries and nuts when they were frozen in ice. Whales were surprised to find that the food frozen in ice "just smelled like water." They agreed it would be much harder to eat (and find!) food that had been packed under ice and snow. During our walk, we explored what it felt like to lay on the ground (spread apart and out in the open) without our fur and brown fat (our winter coats). We found it was much colder when we didn't have our fat and fur to keep warm. We got up and looked hard for a place that a bear might consider making it's den. When we found it, we huddled close together and discovered that our body heat helped keep us cozy and warm.
Later in the week, Whales chose the hibernating animal they were interested in learning more about. We worked in small groups, exploring what it felt like to be a hibernating Black Bear, Northwest Painted Turtle, Garter Snake or Little Brown Bat. We completed research papers to show what we had learned.
We played hibernation games that incorporated numeracy and literacy, created some scientific illustrations of our animals in atelier, and became many hibernating and migrating animals during our time in creative play. Whales are becoming hibernation experts!