Heading out into the big white beyond during the winter months may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for children it can be intoxicating. Even here in the UK – where the average winter is more about drizzle and fog than fresh snow and icicles – winter lessons can be superbly engaging for students of all ages.
Here are four ideas that can be adapted to both indoor and outdoor classrooms to give UK kids the chance to learn all about winter weather, cultures that live in cold climates and creative chilly tales!
1. Learn about weather systems
What better time of the year to spend a little time in the classroom learning about how global weather systems work… then popping over to the outdoor classroom to see it all motion! As the earth’s weather systems change, the character of a land can alter astonishingly. Approaching children with a basic level of weather system understanding offers incredible scope to bring science into an environment they can see and even touch. Why do people get “fog breath” when it’s cold? Learn why in the classroom before heading outside for a little test!
2. Write short stories about winter
The winter is a magical time, and that’s never lost on the brilliant imaginations of children. Inspiring youngsters to write creatively can work superbly when they’re immersed in an environment. Instead of waiting until themed days, why not use the weather? There are a thousand ways to describe the feeling of goose bumps on an exposed forearm during the walk to school, so take advantage of the invigorating winter environment to really inspire a new generation of creative writers!
3. Learn about winter wildlife
The UK may not boast the largest mammals or the brightest birdlife, but there are plenty of indigenous species that mark Britain as an exciting place to live in terms of plants and animals. Resources like the BBC, RSPB, Natural England and Natural History Museum have brilliant educational information to help hands-on teachers create school wildlife projects.
The seasonal change between winter and summer is fortunately pronounced in the UK, giving students plenty of comparisons to make between the sparse nature of winter and the vitality of spring. With a little time and elbow grease, the entire outdoors of schools grounds can become an outside classroom!
4. Learn about temperature and health
Winter really lends itself to teaching young students about science-based issues like why humans shiver to keep warm and why it’s important to wrap up against the cold.
Social science can also play a role – how have other cultures adapted to the pressures of long, harsh winters?
Teaching youngsters can be an incredibly rewarding job, and with the help of the UK’s varying seasons, a teacher can see their minds grow tremendously over the year.