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Siberia Lesson

Updated on February 3, 2017
Sketching an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels
Sketching an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels

This is part 4 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Sketch an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels, making grape jelly to demonstrate the smelting process, cut out various shapes of snowflakes, dress up as and pretend to be musk oxen, walruses, Siberian tigers, and reindeer, and more while learning about Siberia. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used as we studied Siberia using the fun unit study book Russia: Land of Endurance by Konos Curriculum. Use these ideas with your class, family, or homeschool co-op group!

Included in this lens you'll find some of the activities we did along with our favorite books we read and YouTube clips we watched while we studied Siberia. Topics featured include Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), Snowflakes, Icebergs and Glaciers, Siberian Wildlife (Walruses, Musk Oxen, Siberian Tigers, Reindeer, Polar Bears, and Wolves), and Mining.

Aurora Borealis

(Northern Lights)

Sketching an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels

One of Our Favorite Books on the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Northern Lights A to Z
Northern Lights A to Z

This picture book includes a different fact about the Northern lights for each letter of the alphabet. It includes facts and legends about the Aurora Borealis.

 
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller - Image is from amazon.com Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of Aurora Borealis by Calvin Hall - Image is from goodreads.comThe Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock - Image is from scholastic.comAurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer - Image is from amazon.com Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek  - Image is from amazon.com
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller - Image is from amazon.com
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller - Image is from amazon.com
Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of Aurora Borealis by Calvin Hall - Image is from goodreads.com
Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of Aurora Borealis by Calvin Hall - Image is from goodreads.com
The Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock - Image is from scholastic.com
The Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock - Image is from scholastic.com
Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer - Image is from amazon.com
Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer - Image is from amazon.com
Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek  - Image is from amazon.com
Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek - Image is from amazon.com

More of Our Favorite Books on the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller focuses on the various seasons in Alaska, but it includes the Northern lights and the animals of Alaska (which are the same ones in Siberia). I reminded my children that Alaska used to be part of Russia and is right next to Siberia. Even my 1 1/2 year old enjoyed this because of all the animals. Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of Aurora Borealis by Calvin Hall is the book we used to see actual photographs of the Northern Lights. It contains remarkable photography and also includes stories and legends about the Northern Lights. The Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer, Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek, and SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose are all also good picture books that include the Northern Lights.

YouTube Clips We Enjoyed on the Northern Lights

We modeled our pastel pictures on the Northern Lights after the below video clip "The Northern Lights by Bruce Collins." We used pastels on black construction paper.

Snowflakes

Cutting out various shapes of snowflakes

Great Books on Snowflakes

Snowflake Bentley
Snowflake Bentley

Snowflake Bentley is a picture book biography about Wilson Bentley, who spent his life studying snowflakes and discovered quite a bit about their patterns. Also look for the picture book biography "My Brother Loved Snowflakes: The Story of Wilson A. Bentley, the Snowflake Man" by Mary Bahr.

 
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder

This is a great book on the science of snowflakes. It is written for children, so all my children were able to enjoy it and learn from it.

 

Our Favorite YouTube Clips on Snowflakes

Need More Free Activity Ideas on Snow?

Literature-based lapbooks related to snow

Lesson ideas & lapbook for Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner: Cut and paste this link: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/stone_fox.php (This book actually takes place in Wyoming but includes activity ideas on snow and ice, samoyeds, arctic animals, and more.)

Icebergs and Glaciers

Comparing how "icebergs" (ice cubes) float in fresh water versus salt water

Watching the ridges form as our "glacier" melts and slides

Good Books on Icebergs & Glaciers

Glaciers: Nature's Icy Caps (Earth Works)
Glaciers: Nature's Icy Caps (Earth Works)

This is a good picture book on glaciers. It includes evolutionary language, so I did have to change some words.

 
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Icebergs and Glaciers by Seymour Simon - Image is from amazon.comDanger-- Icebergs! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Book) by Roma Gans - Image is from pinkwatermelon.blogspot.com
Icebergs and Glaciers by Seymour Simon - Image is from amazon.com
Icebergs and Glaciers by Seymour Simon - Image is from amazon.com
Danger-- Icebergs! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Book) by Roma Gans - Image is from pinkwatermelon.blogspot.com
Danger-- Icebergs! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Book) by Roma Gans - Image is from pinkwatermelon.blogspot.com

More children's books we used to learn about glaciers and icebergs

Icebergs and Glaciers by Seymour Simon is children's book on glaciers. It has photographs rather than illustrations, but it was still enjoyed by my children. It includes some additional vocabulary that the above book doesn't have. It also includes evolutionary language, so I did have to change some words. Danger-- Icebergs! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Book) by Roma Gans is a nice picture book explaining what icebergs are, how they form, and the dangers they create.

Good YouTube Clip of a Glacier

Siberian Wildlife

Dressing up as musk oxen

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walruses sunning on their "ice floe"Walruses fighting with their tusksSiberian tigersReindeer
Walruses sunning on their "ice floe"
Walruses sunning on their "ice floe"
Walruses fighting with their tusks
Walruses fighting with their tusks
Siberian tigers
Siberian tigers
Reindeer
Reindeer

Our Favorite Books on Siberian Animals

Amazing Arctic Animals (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3)
Amazing Arctic Animals (Penguin Young Readers, Level 3)

This picture book includes most of the Siberian animals we learned about. It has a short description of each animal.

 
A Polar Bear's World (Caroline Arnold's Animals) by Caroline Arnold - Image is from amazon.com
A Polar Bear's World (Caroline Arnold's Animals) by Caroline Arnold - Image is from amazon.com

More of Our Favorite Books on Siberian Animals

We also really enjoyed A Polar Bear's World (Caroline Arnold's Animals) by Caroline Arnold, The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett, Polar Bears by Gail Gibbons, Alaska's Three Bears by Shelley Gill, A Caribou Journey by Debbie S. Miller, Reindeer by Caroline Arnold and Pamela Johnson, A Caribou Alphabet by Mary Beth Owens, Reindeer by Emery Bernhard, The Big Caribou Herd by by Bruce Hiscock, A Walrus' World (Caroline Arnold's Animals) by Caroline Arnold, Little Walrus Warning by Carol Young, Far North in the Arctic: Counting Alaska's Animals by Cory Hansent, Survival at 40 Below by Debbie S. Miller, Over in the Arctic: Where the Cold Winds Blow by Marianne Berkes, In Arctic Waters by Laura Crawford, Way Up in the Arctic by Jennifer Ward, The Itchy Little Musk Ox by Tricia Brown, and What Lives in the Arctic? by Oona Gaarder-Juntti.

Great YouTube Clips on Siberian Wildlife

Need More Free Activities?

Printable tiger mask (click on the female tiger mask)

Polar animal lapbook: Cut and paste this link: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/polar_animals_lapbook.php

Lapbook for Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett: Cut and paste this link: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/unit_three_snow_bears.php

Lemming lesson for younger children: Cut and paste this link: http://hubpages.com/animals/lemmimgs

Tiger Lapbook: Cut and paste this link: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/tiger_lapbook.php

Wolf lapbook: Cut and paste this link: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/gray_wolf.php

Mining

Making grape jelly (to demonstrate smelting)

YouTube Clip We Enjoyed on Refining Gold

Great Class or Family Read Aloud

The Impossible Journey
The Impossible Journey

This is the story of a girl and who brother who venture through Siberia in search of their mother after their parents were arrested and sent to Siberia during the reign of Stalin. It includes so much about Siberia (the topography, animals, rivers, Samoyeds, etc.). We actually listened to audio CD version of this book while on a long road trip. My entire family enjoyed listening to this story and learned quite a bit from it.

 

Surviving in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years

Ready for more?

Performing a miniature production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" from Lesson 5: The Russian Ballet
Performing a miniature production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" from Lesson 5: The Russian Ballet

Cook borscht and blini, study and paint like the famous artists of Russia, perform a miniature "Nutcracker" ballet performance, dramatize a Communist lunch (complete with sentencing to "Siberia" for the non-compliant), and more in the fun 8 part study on Russia!

  • Russian Geography and Early Russian History Lesson - This is part 1 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Paint a Russian Orthodox triptych, taste caviar, play the Russian Temperate Zone Game, read classic Baba Yaga tales, and more while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history.
  • Russian Czars Lesson - This is part 2 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Construct a model of the Red Square, attempting Cossack-style dancing, decorate eggs like Carl Faberge, read classic Czar tales, and more while learning about Russian Czars. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian Czars.
  • Russian Revolution Lesson - This is part 3 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Play the Russian Civil War version of Capture the Flag, endure a "Communist" lunch complete with trying to trade food on the black market, create Communist flags, and more while learning about the Russian Revolution. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Russian Revolution.
  • Siberia Lesson - This is part 4 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Sketch an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels, making grape jelly to demonstrate the smelting process, cut out various shapes of snowflakes, dress up as and pretend to be musk oxen, walruses, Siberian tigers, and reindeer, and more while learning about Siberia. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Siberia.
  • Russian Ballet Lesson - This is part 5 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Perform a miniature production of The Nutcracker, learn the basic positions in ballet, watch videos of and read about famous Russian dancers including Anna Pavlova, Nijinsky, and Baryshnikov, and more while learning about Russian ballet. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian ballet.
  • The Cold War and Arms Race Lesson - This is part 6 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Design and launch various types of rockets, dramatize the Berlin Airlift and the Chocolate Pilot, prepare and eat blini, and more while learning about the Cold War and the Arms Race. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Cold War and the Arms Race.
  • The Space Race and The Olympics Lesson - This is part 7 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Make a full-size model of Sputnik 1, learn gymnastics moves and host a miniature Olympics gymnastics competition, experiment with sugar while learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and more while learning about the Space Race and Russian Olympics. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Space Race and Russian Olympics.
  • End of the Cold War and Russian Artists Lesson - This is part 8 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Recreate Kandinsky’s and Marc Chagall’s works, build and then knock down a model of the Berlin Wall, decorate pysanky eggs, make and eat kulich, and more while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists.
  • Russia: Faberge, Chess, & Borscht – This lesson provides a simple overview of Russia. I have compiled all you will need to locate Russia on a map, cook a Russian meal, watch YouTube clips on Russia, color the flag, create a Russian craft, read a great book about Russia, and more!
  • Ukraine: A Missing Mitten, Pysanky Easter Eggs, & Babka Bread – If you would like to learn a bit more on Ukraine, visit my lesson at which I have shared all you will need to locate Ukraine on a map, cook a Ukrainian meal, watch YouTube clips on Ukraine, color the flag, create a Ukrainian craft, read a great book about Ukraine, and more!

Russia: Land of Endurance
Russia: Land of Endurance

Russia: Land of Endurance

All of the above activities featured in the photos are just some of the many excellent activities featured in Russia: Land of Endurance by Konos Curriculum. The curriculum is easy to follow, with a lesson full of activities for each day of the week. You can either buy the book or you can buy the lesson book along with needed craft supplies and books.

What first comes to mind when you think of Siberia? - Or just let me know you were here! I love hearing from you!

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