Signs of Spring: Observations for January

Today's Reminder Includes:

How is water changing?

Photo: ©2007 Tom Henthorn Sr.

How is the Season Changing?

The winter solstice has passed. As we move through winter and into spring, lots of clues will tell you the season is changing. What will they be? That's for you to discover! Each month, we'll remind you to go outside and observe. Look, smell, feel, and listen carefully. Also pay attention to the hours of sunlight. Changing sunlight is what leads to all other seasonal changes. Record your observations on one of these handouts:

Photos from Space: How is sunlight changing?
Where Do Insects Go in the Winter?

Ever wonder what happens to all the insects when the cold winter comes? Insects have a variety of ways for surviving winter’s cold weather.

Migration is one strategy for escaping the killing cold. Some insects and spiders migrate a short distance into our houses, but others, like the monarch butterfly travel hundreds of miles.

Most of the insects we see in the warmer months are still close by during the coldest weather. Insects live through the winter in all their life stages; as eggs, larvae, pupae and adults! Some find protection under heavy cover of leaves and snow. Others survive and grow under the ice in frozen ponds and streams. Some spend the winter wrapped warmly in their own pupae and cocoons.

Did you know that some insects bodies replace the water in their bodies with another liquid that acts like antifreeze?!

wooly-bear caterpiller

How does a woolly bear caterpillar cope with winter? Find out more.

Try This Research!
Brainstorm a list all the insects you can think of that you see in the summer time. Then pick one and find out how it spends the cold winter months.

Outdoor Observations for January: Watching Water
You can keep weekly observations, drawings, and checklists in this
Signs of Spring journal.
When you make your January observations — try adding a new twist. Keep an eye on water. After all, life on Earth depends on it! Here are some things to discuss or write about in your journals.
  • Describe the water you see in your schoolyard or neighborhood. (Is it moving or still? Slushy? Frozen solid? Are there signs of life?)
  • How do you predict it will look, feel, and sound next month? Why?
  • How do you think changes in water could affect plants, animals, and the coming of spring?
  • How do you use water differently in winter and summer? List 2 ways.
Resources to Explore
  • Handout: Watching the Seasons Change (grades K-3)
  • Handout: Signs of Spring Checklist (grades 4+)
  • Share: Exchange Observations with a Partner!
  • Report your observations! (Choose the sighting or event that best fits!)
  • Handout: Signs of Spring: Clues About Seasonal Change

Signs of Spring for February:
A reminder will be posted on February 1, 2010