Thursday, January 26, 2012


We have been blessed this year with a VERY mild winter, even for Georgia (knock on wood) so this year my unit on SNOW is even more exciting since I don't think we will see much of the real stuff this year.

My books this year are  Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart - these books go GREAT together and I love when I can read some great picture book non-ficiton to the students.

For our story time activity we make SNOW.  I purchased Insta snow from Steve Spangler Science (I love this guy!) and this is where the fun begins.  I talk to the kids about what real snow is made of and then I tell them that since we can't make real snow in the library that we are going to use insta snow. I talk to them about how insta snow is a chemical (sodium polyacrylate) and that it is called a polymer. We talk about how when I add liquid to this it will have a chemical reaction and change into snow (I get more in depth the older the class is). Then we experiment - I add insta snow to two clear cups - I add milk to one - which results in what I like to call Massachusetts snow - it is sticky (it is stuck in the cup) and yellow. I then add water to the other and you can see it instantly puff up into white fluffy snow (Colorado snow). The reaction of the kids is awesome!  Then I tell the kids they are going to experience a chemical reaction in their hands - each student comes up to my "lab" table and I make snow in their hand (see the video above). 

This is by FAR my most popular story time - I have done it with my usual story time classes (grades K-2) but also with all of 5th grade (they are studying chemical and physical changes), all of our special ed self contained classes (they love it for sensory lesson) and some 3rd and 4th grade classes.  I'm exhausted, but it is such fun seeing the reaction of the students - when you can get 5th graders excited about ANYTHING, I call that a good day!

bucket of snow
I'm still crossing my fingers that this is the most "snow" I see all winter!!