A Science and Literacy Activity for The Big Snow

Free Printable Birds for The Big Snow

To support the Seasons unit for winter, I created this activities to support the following Nevada Science Standards:

Nevada Science Standard (2)1.1 Record observations and explanations using words, numbers, charts, and pictures.


Nevada Science Standard 4.2.8  Identify and sort animals by observable characteristics and/or behaviors.

By finding pictures of the birds and animals in The Big Snow in Google Images and printing them in color, you create “specimens” that your students can access.  I created them to make The Big Snow a participatory book, but feel that I needed to expand it to include some science, specifically observational skills.  As we work on learning the new vocabulary, specifically the names of the birds and animals, we work at the same time on building skills in observation.  What colors do we see in the picture?  What color is the blue bird’s tummy? 


  1. Print the free printable pdf’s
  2. Have students choose two birds  Be sure they have access to the photographs.
  3. Have the students identify characteristics of the birds:  color, graduations of color, beaks and beak colors, legs and leg colors.
  4. Have students color the bird pdf’s so they look like the pictures (my students, in the picture above, did a good job!  They even put a bit of red near the neck and tummy of the crows, just like the pictures.)
  5. Have students cut out the birds.  For emerging “cutters” have them just cut around the picture, and you or your staff can do the fine cutting.
  6. Cut some branches from brown paper and staple or tack your birds to the branches.  Review their names, both as you reread The Big Snow, and as your students place them on the story board.

Science and literacy

Embedding literacy and language instruction in art and science activities is invaluable to helping your students become familiar with scientific vocabulary, vocabulary they will read in their text books and the vocabulary that “literate” people should know.   They should understand that “observation” has a very specific meaning in the sciences.  It is more than looking . . . it is looking, remarking on specific things they see and sharing, recording and evaluating what it is they see.

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