At-home and at school learning resources from Learning for a Sustainable Future
Week 18: Snow the Action Down Under
This week's LIO is all about life down underneath the snow during these cold winter months! Throughout the season, there are a lot of animals that capitalize on deep snowy areas to help stay active in the subnivean climate - the space between the ground and the snow. Snow can act as a great thermal insulator for these animals. While the temperature outside can be anywhere from -20°C to -40°C, only 25cm of snow is enough to create an environment that is just around 0°C to help keep these creatures warm and active in these harsh winter conditions!

The activities below introduce students to some of the many changes that happen to our ecosystem during this time of the year. We examine the lives of animals underneath the snow, how to identify animal tracks and signs of wildlife activity, and the challenges that many animals face during the winter that are brought on by climate change. Be sure to check out our Step Outside Nature Guide to learn more about The Action Down Under and to read about other happenings during this time of the year!
This book will engage and amuse students while they learn about animal signs. On a chilly winter day, Cammy and William go sledding in the woods near their home. As they pass through the trees, they discover many clues that help them notice the animals in the forest. They realize that despite the cold and snow they are surrounded by wildlife that is active and busy. As they reach the end of their nature treasure hunt Cammy and William are rewarded with one more discovery that will delight any child who has experienced the joy of spending time outside with family.

  • Listen to Over and Under the Snow and discover the secret world of animals living under the snow
  • Get outside and participate in the Young Explorers Winter Scavenger Hunt
  • Learn how to identify common track patterns and characteristics, students might be able to read the story of the tracks they find using this Stories in the Snow activity sheet
  • Become a snowflake explorer with this Let it Snow activity
  • Watch the video of a subnivean creature digging a tunnel right before your eyes. Get outside and see if students can spot any holes for air vents in the surface of the snow
  • Try this cool winter animal experiment
What did you think of In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?
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As Canadians, we know winter is tough, but imagine what our native wildlife must go through! Through this lesson, students explore the strategies and adaptations of local wildlife for coping with our cold and snowy winter environment. This lesson uses appealing activities to develop an understanding of winter survival mechanisms in animals. An active outdoor component also engages students in the exploration of the dynamic natural world that surrounds us in winter.

  • Complete the Snug in the Snow activity. Through a creative arts project, students will show how snow helps some animals survive winter
  • Try the Winter-time Temps activity to learn more about how temperature varies above and below the snow and its effect on wildlife
  • Learn more about snow insulation and take a walk outside and look for holes or other entrances into snow-covered homes
  • Take the Snow Quiz and try to identify these animal tracks
  • Get outside and become a winter wildlife detective, (p.8/9). Use your senses to uncover the secret lives of animals around us
What did you think of Movers, Sleepers and Tough Guys: Wildlife in Winter?
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The effects of climate change on ecosystems and the distribution of organisms within them are already evident in the Arctic. In this video, students will learn about the challenges that climate change presents for four specific Arctic predators. They will learn how such changes ripple throughout ecosystems, habitats, and food webs.

  • After watching the video discuss how climate change is affecting the Arctic and how it affects specific predators?
  • Have students complete the Changes in the Arctic Ecosystem Chart (p.5/6) as they watch the video. Watch the video and twice pause as necessary.
  • Have students construct a food chain or food web, based on the video. Discuss roles of primary producers and consumers in a food web
  • Test your arctic food chain science skills. Complete the Arctic food chain mobile
  • Learn more about your favourite Arctic animal! Do some independent research about an Arctic animal that fascinates you. Where does it live? What does it eat? Is it endangered? These are just a few of the simple questions that can guide your inquiry. Share what you learn with a friend or family member
What did you think of A Warmer World for Arctic Animals?
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With rising temperatures and seas, massive droughts, and changing landscapes, successfully adapting to climate change is increasingly important. For humans, this can mean using technology to find solutions. But for some plants and animals, adapting to these changes involves the most ancient solution of all: evolution. This video explains how animals are adapting to climate change.

  • Watch the video then test your listening skills with the help of this quiz
  • Research which animals are adapting to climate change. Investigate if animals with white winter camouflage could struggle to adapt to climate change
  • Explore extreme animal adaptation with this Antifreeze Animals experiment
  • Have students write hypothetical new descriptions of the Arctic ecosystem if climate change continues its current trajectory. Look into the effects global warming is having on arctic food chains and what you can do to stop global warming
  • Choose an ecosystem. Identify one predator and its food source that live in this ecosystem. How might climate change affect these species?
What did you think of Can Wildlife Adapt to Climate Change?
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About Learning Inside Out

Above you will find a selection of activities, broken down by various grade levels. These guides will be released weekly and archived on our Learning Inside Out page, so you can always access the full catalogue.

All activities have been modified from resources on our R4R database, simplified and adapted for both outdoor learning in the school yard or at-home as needed. The activity descriptions above should contain all the information and links that you need!

If you'd like to view the full original resource on R4R, including curriculum connections for every province/territory, click the activity title.

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Use the feedback button at the bottom of this Guide, or email us at We would also love to see photos of students engaging in the activities, please e-mail us any pictures or videos you have!
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Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is a Canadian charity with over 25 years of experience working within the education system. Our Resources for Rethinking (R4R) database is an award-winning collection of resources that are peer-reviewed by certified teachers and connected to curriculum in all provinces and territories. R4R is recommended on many Ministry of Education websites.
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