Introduce students to facts about snakes. Then do some hands-on activities to help the students comprehend the information.
1. Students will learn that snakes are reptiles.
2. Students will learn that there are many kinds of snakes.
3. Students will learn that snakes hibernate in the winter.
4. Students will learn that snakes use their muscles to move.
5. Students will learn that snakes are meat eaters and swallow prey whole.
6. Students will learn that most snakes lay eggs.
What do You Know?
Start the lesson by finding out what the students already know about snakes. Ask these questions:
1. Is a snake an insect, mammal or reptile? Reptile
2. Do all snakebites have poison? No, most snakes are not poisonous.
3. Can snakes eat us? No!
4. Turtles, alligators and lizards are reptiles. What makes a snake different, even though it is also a reptile? It has no legs or arms.
5. Does a snake eat grass? No, they are meat eaters.
6. Some snakes hiss and some have a rattle. Can you guess why? To scare away enemies.
Begin With a Book
Read the book Snakes by Gail Gibbons. This book contains lots of information and colorful illustrations. The main text is written in a simple form for children to understand. Depending upon the abilities and ages of your little ones, you may want to use this book in two or three sessions so that the children can focus on smaller amounts of information. Do an activity after each section.
1.How Long is It?
yarn, masking tape, measuring tape or yard stick
The smallest snake is a Thread Snake, which is the width of a pencil lead and is about 4 inches long. Cut a piece of yarn 4 inches long to demonstrate the size of the snake.
The largest snake is the Reticulated Python, which is about 20 feet long. Use masking tape to make a line 20 feet long on the floor. Then have students lay down on the line, head to toe, to see how many students it takes to form the length of this giant snake. Wow!
2. Where in the World?
Show the students the globe. Snakes live in most parts of the world. They are on every continent except Antarctica. Show them where snakes do not live. Then ask, “What do you know about the top and bottom of the earth?” It is very cold. Why do you think that snakes don’t live there? It’s too cold. Most snakes live in the warmer areas.
Choose a student to be a sun. Walk around the “sun” with the globe in your hands. Show students the equator and tell them that it is the warmest part of the earth. Ask them, “Why is it hotter here?” The fat part is closer to the sun.
3. Move Those Muscles.
Snakes use their strong muscles to slither along. Ask students to lay on the floor and demonstrate how snakes move.
Use a slinky to show the snake movements, especially the movements of a Sidewinder snake.
4. Paper Snake
copies of spiral drawing
Draw a spiral design (difficulty level based on the cutting ability of your students) on plain white paper and make copies for each of your students. Then have students use safety scissors to make a continuous cut on the line. It should come out as a bouncy curled-up snake.
Depending on the location of your school, you can tailor your study to the kinds of snakes found in your area. Invite a local wildlife expert to visit the classroom. These ideas will prove plenty of learning experiences for your little ones.