Suitable for Key Stage 1 and for those with learning disabilities

We show how the natural world prepares for and copes with the harsh conditions of autumn and, more especially, winter.

A key objective is to impress on children how they can help the natural world by simple strategies, e.g. food and water for birds and other animals in their garden, or in the school grounds.

Which season is best for this activity?

As the title suggests, this activity is done in winter. It can be done in autumn, to show how the natural world prepares for winter. We believe that children should appreciate the struggle for survival that faces animals and plants when it’s very cold.

Learning objectives and links to the national curriculum

This links directly to the Science National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and 2 “Living Things and their Habitats”. We show how the natural world prepares for and copes with the harsh conditions of autumn and, more especially, winter.
A key objective is to impress on children how they can help the natural world by simple strategies, e.g. food and water for birds and other animals in their garden, or in the school grounds.

Outline of the Activity
This two-hour activity comprises three 30 minute modules, on a rotating basis. The modules look at:

  • Habitats – why a place to live is so important in winter
  • Food – how animals manage for their food in winter
  • Trees – how trees protect themselves in winter

We start with an introduction in the main classroom to talk briefly about why winter happens and how we, as humans, cope with winter. We then go out onto the Nature Trail and split into the three groups, which swap after about 30 minutes or so.

Ideas for pre-visit learning
Before bringing a group to do this activity, here are some ideas to help introduce the subject:

  • Talk about why winter happens. Do we like winter? Why? Is life fun for us in winter?
  • How could we cope if there was very little food in the shops during winter?
  • Imagine that you lived out in the open, as some people do. How do they manage? How can we help?

Ideas for follow up work back at school

  • Consider what measures the class could take to help animals survive the winter and put these into practice. E.g. set up feeders outside the classroom.
  • Consider what foods would be best for e.g. birds and launch an appeal amongst parents.