Winter Carnival!

Winter Carnival! lesson plan

Celebrate winter with sled dog races, ice carving, curling-and polar bear swims! Capture fun at frosty festivities in Canada and the northern United States.

  • 1.

    Discuss with students how cold the weather gets where they live and around the world. When Canadians say cold weather, they mean temperatures such as those in Alberta, which often drop to 5ºF (-15ºC). In the Northwest Territories, the thermometer often goes down to -14ºF (-26ºC), and temperatures rise above freezing only in June, July, and August.

  • 2.

    Ask students what they would do if they lived where winter lasts 5 or 6 months? Many cities in North America hold Winter Carnivals to embrace the weather. At these carnivals, you'll find a variety of activities that are only possible when the temperature drops below freezing. Some are traditional, such as sled dog races, ice-carving competitions, cross-country ski competitions and ice skating parades. Others are unique.

  • 3.

    Learn more about the events and activities at various winter carnivals around the North America. What weather conditions are essential for their success? How do people dress?

  • 4.

    At Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada, the Rideau Canal becomes a 4 1/2 mile (7.2 km) skating rink. In Sault Ste Marie's Bon Soo Winter there are Bum Slides, giant snow chutes for sliding down on your... (you guessed it). Quebec's winter carnival has a mascot called Bonhomme, a living snowman who roams the festival. Across Canada and into Minnesota, curling and broomball tournaments are held.

  • 5.

    Have students imagine what events they would try at a winter carnival. Would they be in the polar bear swim where hearty people jump into ice-cleared water for a refreshing dip? Are they brave enough to try the Bum Slide? Strong enough to carve ice with a chain saw?

  • 6.

    On black construction paper, draw several winter carnival activities with Crayola® Construction Paper Crayons. Have students come up with at least one of their own ice or snow inventions.

  • 7.

    Cover art area with newspaper. Using a Crayola Paint Brush with stiff bristles, flick splatters of white Crayola Washable Paint on the drawing to add a snowy effect. Air dry flat.

  • 8.

    To make a class Winter Carnival collage or parade, cut out the activities with Crayola Scissors. Glue them together on roll paper using a Crayola Glue Stick to display.

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.
  • SCI: Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.
  • SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Describe and speculate about physical system changes, such as seasons, climate and weather, and the water cycle.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Winter Carnivals: Festivals in White (Festivals! USA) by Lisa Gabbert; Lights of Winter: Winter Celebrations Around the World by Heather Conrad
  • Making ice sculptures would be a logical activity at a winter carnival. How cold must it be to make and sustain ice sculptures? Students investigate. Design an ice sculpture using Crayola Modeling Clay.
  • Students work in small groups to plan a Winter Carnival. Consider activities typically held in winter carnivals. Are these suitable for your climate? If not, what will you substitute that is suitable? Map out where each of your activities will be held. Create a written plan, including dates in the year for the carnival to be held.