Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Winter is almost here in the northern hemisphere and many children are learning about animals and animal adaptations such as migration and hibernation. I recently discovered a book that works really well for an integrated science + art + language arts lesson. It’s called Over and Under the Snow and is written by Kate Messner. It’s an excellent book for teaching about hibernation, which animals hibernate, and which ones don't. Keep reading to learn more!

Learn about animal hibernation with this integrated science, reading, and art activity inspired by the book Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner.
Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Author's Summary

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow lies a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals making their winter home under the snow. This beloved nonfiction picture book exploring the subnivean zone reveals the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow.

🍎 Title: Over and Under the Snow
🍎 Author: Kate Messner
🍎 Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
🍎 Publisher: Chronicle Books
🍎 Date: September 9, 2014
🍎 Pages: 44

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Reading Over and Under the Snow

You can easily create a one or two-day lesson plan that centers around Over and Under the Snow. First, start out by reading the book with your students. For younger children, Over and Under the Snow can be read aloud to them, whereas older students can read the book in guided reading groups or independently. After reading Over and Under the Snow, work together as a group to brainstorm and record a list of animals and what they do during the winter. Anchor charts are terrific ways to record your students’ responses. 

Hibernation occurs when an animal becomes inactive, or "sleeps," during the short, cold days of winter. Hibernating and dormant mammals include bears, squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks, opossums, dormice, and bats.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Science + Art + Writing Enrichment for Over and Under the Snow

After reading Over and Under the Snow and working together on the anchor chart, your students can demonstrate their understanding by creating collages of animals that hibernate. Provide your students with a variety of materials such as construction paper, old magazines, cotton balls, dried leaves, sticks, glue, markers, crayons, etc., and let them create. 

Collage of a turtle in its burrow under the snow

When your students finish their collages, have them write a few sentences about the animals in their collages. What animals did they choose? What do those animals do during the winter? If time allows, let your students type and print what they wrote. 

a child's essay and collage about what a turtle does during the winter

Where Do Turtles Go in the Winter?

Turtles go under the water and below the ice. Some turtles dig a hole called a burrow and stay there all winter. Turtles are cold-blooded. That means they can live in the cold for a really long time. Turtles don't hibernate. They brumate. That means they are sort of asleep but not really. Turtles move slowly when they brumate.

Did you enjoy learning about Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner? If so, check out these blog posts for more children's books and factoids about animals and animal adaptations:

search words: winter, animals, hibernation, adaptation, animal adaptations, squirrels, rabbits, bears, frogs, bullfrogs, fox, foxes

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