Fall is a time of great transitions in both the classroom and the natural world. During our Personal, Social, and Physical Education class time we have been engaging in games that mimic real-life relationships in nature. Whether channeling our inner toad and seeking out the best hibernation habitat in the forest or migrating around the playground like an arctic tern, we are learning how even the “tiniest” decisions can make a huge impact on our lives. We are also learning that when animals are faced with an impending long and tough Washington winter, they must assess their own skills, knowledge, and traits to decide if they should migrate, hunker down and hibernate, or ration their resources and tolerate harsh conditions until spring.
During our explorations we have discovered that not all animals fit neatly into one category. For example, black bears do not actually hibernate! Bears in cold places like Washington will spend most of the winter in a sleepy, sluggish state called torpor, while bears in south Florida carry on as they would any other season. We have been investigating how various animals and humans around the world prepare for winter and how those choices compare and contrast with the choices we make as individuals. In doing so, we have discovered that most of us create our own unique category defined by our individual choices and preferences. As we transition into winter and the exciting things this school year holds, we are being mindful of our choices and what lies ahead!