About ESIP     Books & Beyond     Classroom Connections  
Site Map

Seasonal Sampler

The websites in the seasonal sampler are divided into the same categories as those in the books’ seasonal sampler. You’ll notice that there are often direct links from one book to one particular website. For example, snowflakebentley.com is intended to be used with the book Snowflake Bentley. Other websites, however, might be used to complement any number of seasonal books. For example, the website of the National Snow and Ice Data Center is bound to have resources that you could use with any number of your winter reads! (This applies to each of the four seasons.)

Winter is Here!

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, http://nsidc.org/index.html, features an image and photo gallery pertaining to blizzards, snow, avalanches, glaciers, icebergs, and more. Other features include resources related to snow and ice, snow facts, and a glossary “to learn the difference between a blizzard and a squall, or to find out what graupel is”.

Learn more about some hibernating creatures at The Official Groundhog Site of Punxsutawney Phil http://www.groundhogs.com/, The Chipmunk Place http://www.owca.com/ and Honeybees http://www.gpnc.org/honeybee.htm

Learn more about the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic theme page. http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/lights.html

How do you build an igloo? (See IGLOOS: North American Native Pre-Contact Housing, http://www.kstrom.net/isk/maps/houses/igloo.html)

Those who yearn to learn more about ice fishing should visit Ice Fishing World at http://www.icefishingworld.com/ for more about this chilly activity.

Let it Snow

At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Photo Library, http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/historic/nws/nwind16.htm, you can access photographs of The Great Blizzard of 1888, as well as other blizzards.

View some “Original Wilson Bentley Images” of snowflakes and share them with your students. You’ll find these, as well as a collection of articles written by Bentley, snowflake links, and FAQ at this website http://snowflakebentley.com which is “dedicated to Bentley’s life work and the stunning images he left behind”.

Find out more about snowboards from Burton Snowboards’ website at http://www.burton.com

Frozen Worlds: The Arctic and Antarctica

Take a virtual tour of the Antarctic Peninsula. Find out about Antarctic life and history. Learn about the latest news and see what animals live in the Antarctic at 70 South: The No. 1 Source for Antarctica http://www.70south.com/home/

Learn more about “Diving Under Antarctic Ice” at http://scilib.ucsd.edu/sio/nsf/diving/index.html

Penguins, Polar Bears and Animal in Winter

You will find information galore at http://www.penguin.net.nz/, a website devoted to New Zealand penguins.

Emperor penguins are the stars of this National Geographic “Creature Feature” at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/creature_feature/0101/penguins.html. Read some fun facts, watch a short video, or listen to audio clips. You can even send an emperor penguin postcard to a friend!

How do polar bears swim? How much do they weigh? Why do they have paw pads? The answers to these questions, and more, can be found in the “Fun Facts” section of National Geographic’s “Creature Feature: Polar Bears” http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/creature_feature/0004/polar.html Don’t miss the audio and video clips!

Get the “Bear Facts” on polar bears at http://www.polarbearsalive.org/facts.htm, a website presented by Polar Bears International, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the conservation of the polar bear.

Wooly Mammoths and the Ice Age

“Take an interactive journey back in time, into the world of ice-age giants” at the Discovery Channel’s “Land of the Mammoth” website. http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/landofmammoth/landofmammoth.html

The remains of many Ice Age animals have been found at the La Brea Tar Pits in California. For a virtual tour of the area, go to the Page Museum website at http://www.pagemuseum.com/

Read “All about Mammoths” at Enchanted Learning’s website, http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/mammals/mammoth/ , which presents text and illustrations of Ice-Age animals, including saber-toothed cats, mastodons, and woolly rhinos.

Seasons and the Calendar

Learn how snow makers work (http://www.howstuffworks.com/snow-maker.htm). “Go behind the scenes at the Raleigh arena to learn all about ice rinks!” (http://www.howstuffworks.com/ice-rink.htm). Discover how time works (http://www.howstuffworks.com/time5.htm).

Hello! Spring: A Springtime Assortment of Animals

Rabbit Web http://www.rabbitweb.net/ has the “information you need to raise and care for your rabbits”.

The Salamander Chronicles http://www.total.net/~kaymur/saltop.htm site contains information on the anatomy, reproduction, and characteristics of salamanders.

When you begin thinking about the arrival of spring, what better place to start than http://www.groundhog.org and http://www.punxsutawneyphil.com


Learn how the Great Backyard Bird Count is run at

For instructions on some easy-to-make birdfeeders, try http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/articles/misc/brdfdrs.html from The Virginia Cooperative Extension, and from http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/birdfeeders/index.htm you can obtain information about 20+ birdfeeder projects.

There are over 700 species records in the bird field guides, with each including a color photograph and information about voice, habitat, nesting, and range at eNature’s http://enature.com/search/show_search_thumb.asp?curGrouplD=1


The butterfly field guides (from eNature.com) at http://enature.com/guides/select_Butterflies.asp has over 450 species records in the butterfly section and for each one, there is a detailed color photograph and description. There is also data on the range, habitat, flight, and life cycle for each butterfly.

Monarch Watch’s site (from University of Kansas Entomology Program) takes an in-depth look at monarch butterflies and provides information about migration & tagging, conservation, growing milkweed, and student-scientist research project partnerships. http://www.monarchwatch.org/


Online exhibits such as the “Frog Tracker”, which allows you to listen to the calls of different North American frogs, are the hit of this site which also features a wealth of information on the “Amazing Adaptable Frog.” Frogs (from the Exploratorium) http://www.exploratorium.edu/frogs/index.html

Don’t be misled by the homepage! Once you get past the cutesy frogs, you will find answers to FAQ about frogs, regional guides to frogs, frog sounds, frog images, “froggy tales”, and information on a few “famous frogs”. Froggy Page http://www.frogsonice.com/froggy


Enter the teachers’ room of nationalgardening.com. While you are there, you might want to enter the photo contest, find out about grants for school gardens, or visit the gardening with kids store. Kidsgardening.com http://www.kidsgardening.com

Gardening with Kids, at http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/teach/ is “meant for the discussion of all aspects of gardening with children. This includes everything related to education and gardening.”

Instructions on planting specific flowers, vegetables, herbs and shrubs are geared to kids, the intended users of the Kid’s Valley Garden site at http://www.raw-connections.com/garden/

School Gardens’ website , http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/nutrition/schoolgardens/schgard.html Provides step by step instructions and suggestions for getting your own school garden under way.

The Urban Community Gardens features links to community gardens in urban areas throughout the United States. http://www.mindspring.com/~communitygardens/

March Weather

On any single day in the month of March, you can go to the Weather Channel’s website at http://www.weather.com/common/welcomepage/world.html?from=footer and find out what the weather is like around the world.

Springtime Observations

Spring bursts forth at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at http://www.wildflower.org/, an organization devoted to wildflowers and other native plants.

With its tips for collecting, keeping & culturing micro-organisms, virtual pond dip, and pond life identification table, this is a must see for all who are considering pond studies. http://microscopy-uk.org.uk/pond/


Read about the four seasons of maple, learn how to make your own maple syrup and maple candy, access a maple bibliography, and find out how to identify different maple trees from the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association at http://www.massmaple.org

Do you know what an oak tree is or how acorns are produced? Find the answers at Oak Tree Trivia (Lehigh Earth Observatory) http://www.leo.lehigh.edu/projects/sam/trivia.html

“Welcome to Summer”

If you are interested in learning more about lighthouses, see Legendary Lighthouses at http://www.pbs.org/legendarylighthouses/ . If dragonflies have caught your fancy, you won’t want to miss the Digital Dragonfly Museum at http://stephenville.tamu.edu/~fmitchel/dragonfly/index.html

If you’d like to learn more about June’s birthstone, the pearl, visit http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/pearls/?src=h_h from the American Museum of Natural History.

Learn more about one of the plants of July, the water lily, at this site, http://www.twingroves.district96.k12.il.us/Wetlands/WaterLilies/WaterLily.html brought to you by the Kildeer Countryside Virtual Wetlands Preserve.

“Summer Art and Nature Activities”

Has the Bug Safari captured your attention? Go online to the Iowa State University Entomology Image Gallery http://www.ent.iastate.edu/imagegallery/ to find photos of all of the bugs you might find in your backyard plus a few that you might not.

Does color matter? This website certainly thinks so. Explore the relationship between color and science, color and the brain, color and the body, color and vision, and color and the world. Take the global color survey or link to other color-related websites at Color Matters http://www.colormatters.com/entercolormatters.html

You won’t want to miss the online field guide to shells brought to you from the National Wildlife Federation at http://www.enature.com/main/home.asp

Find out more about The Great Nature of Chiura Obata at http://obata.wilderness.net/

“What is so fascinating about bubbles?” Is it the shape? The colors? This website from the Exploratorium http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/bubbles.html takes an in-depth look at bubbles and will likely answer many of the questions that you have to ask about them.

“Ice Cream: A Favorite Summer Treat”

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. While this site can’t satisfy that urge for a double dip of chocolate, the Ice Cream Alliance website,http://www.ice-cream.org/home.html does share some fantastic facts about ice cream, including information about the history of ice cream and some safety tips on storing and serving this sweet treat.

Get the inside scoop on some of your ice cream favorites at websites devoted to Good Humor and Breyers http://www.icecreamusa.com/ or Ben & Jerry’s http://www.benjerry.com/ or Haagen-Dazs http://www.haagen-dazs.com/

“Summer Explorations”

“Birdwatching Dot Com http://www.birdwatching.com/ is about wild birds and the sport of birding. It’s for everyone who’s interested in birdwatching and enjoying nature.” There are stories about birdwatching, a birding Q & A, bird stories, and information about birdwatching software.

If you were going to Fitchburg, how would you go there? You get the chance to make that choice at the Henry Hikes to Fitchburg website at http://www.cyberbee.com/henryhikes/henry.html The site features ideas for teachers, links, and a “Meet Thoreau” section.

The Maryland Geological Survey brings you information about Maryland’s highest waterfalls at http://www.mgs.md.gov/esic/fs/fs9.html

If a book inspires you to do some camping of your own, you might want to begin your camping planning by visiting Virginia State Park’s Camping with Kids at http://www.dcr.state.va.us/parks/kidfacts.htm or Maryland Parks, Forests and WMA’s http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/pfwma2.html

We can’t guarantee that the Young Angler http://www.nebworks.com/kids/angler.html will tell you where to find the big fish, but it will provide a lot of information for those who are new to fishing.

Find out more about the white water area devoted to Desolation River at http://www.blm.gov/utah/price/riverinf.htm.

Do you have any questions that you’d like to ask a marine scientist? Are you searching for career information for marine biology? Would you like to learn more about the Northwest Pacific Biodiversity, marine food webs, or underwater acoustics? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should visit Oceanlink http://oceanlink.island.net/main.html for some answers.

If you missed the “Ocean Planet” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution, you can still see some of the images and read the text at the “Ocean Planet Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition” http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/ocean_planet.html

For those of you planning to do a bit of seashell collecting in the Maryland area this summer, this site from The Assateague Naturalist http://www.assateague.com/shells.html might make it easier for you to identify those treasures that you collect.

Learn more about Peggy’s Point Lighthouse http://www.ednet.ns.ca/educ/heritage/nslps/peggys1.htm and visit The Prince Edward Island Tourism and Travel Guide Online at http://www.peionline.com/


“Fall Fling”

What is Chusok? What countries have Yam Festivals? Whose harvest festivals feature mooncakes? Harvest Celebrations Around the World http://www.familyculture.com/holidays/harvestcelebrations.htm provides details about eight different harvest festivals, including booklists and web links for each of the festivals.

“What happens to animals when the days get shorter and the snow starts to fly?” Learn more about hibernators and light sleepers at Snug in the Snow, http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/nature/snugsnow.htm

Tour the fall foliage sites of Maine at http://www.state.me.us/doc/foliage. See the fall foliage road and bicycling tours that are available in Vermont at http://www.foliage-vermont.com/driving_tours.htm. What are New Hampshire’s scenic spots? Find out at http://web2.superb.net/beauvais/photo/nh/

“Autumn Leaves and Trees”

Virginia Tech http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/main.htm provides visitors with tree identification fact sheets on over 450 species of trees. The fact sheets are searchable by tree, state, province, or zone. Each fact sheet describes the leaf, flower, fruit, twig, bark and form of the tree, and illustrates each of these features with sharp color photos.

As part of their “Environmental Education for Kids!” feature, the Department of Natural Resources provides answers to questions which include: Why do leaves change color? Where do leaf colors come from? Do leaves change colors because of the weather and why do leaves fall? Eek! A Tree’s True Colors http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/veg/trees/treestruecolor.htm

The National Wildlife Federation presents an online field guide of 738 species records at http://www.enature.com/guides/select_Trees.asp. Color photos may be enlarged for more detailed images.

“Celebrating Farm Life and the Harvest”

Learn more about Holsteins at http://www.holsteinusa.com/html/thecow1.html, sponsored by The Holstein Association.

A slideshow takes you to the Saint Paul Farmers Market at http://table.mpr.org/gourmetguide/rec_farmersmarket.html. There are some farmer’s market tips and farmer’s market facts to help you if you go shopping at your local farmer’s market.

Take a closer look at wheat harvesting. The Department of Agriculture, http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/opc-whea.htm, offers sixteen color photographs of wheat and the harvesting process.

We bet that you’ve bitten into a red delicious or a granny smith. But have you ever tried a pink lady or a jonagold? Read about these two varieties of apples and others. There’s information on health and nutrition, recipes, “core facts”, and a section just for kids at http://www.bestapples.com/kids/index.html, from the Washington State Apple Commission.

Learn about the Native American history of corn and some of its uses at Native Tech: Native American History of Corn http://www.nativetech.org/cornhusk/cornhusk.html

George Levenson provides all the details you need on growing pumpkins at The Pumpkin Circle http://www.sadako.com/pumpkin/index.html. There are also some suggested classroom activities and pumpkin links.

If you are tired of those same old jack-o-lantern designs, you won’t want to miss Jack-O-Lantern’s site at http://www.jack-o-lantern.com/index2.html/. In addition to the unique designs, you can also learn the proper techniques of choosing a pumpkin, transferring the design, and carving the pumpkin.

Find out where cider originated, how it’s made, where it’s made, and where it’s popular at The History of Cider http://www.history-of-cider.com/.

“Animals in Autumn”

Learn more about wolves from the National Wildlife Federation at http://www.nwf.org/wolves/programHomepage.cfm?cpld=57&CFID=575635&CFTOKEN+5613651. Find out details about Everglade alligators at http://www.nps.gov/ever/eco/gator.htm

Learn about raptors, including the peregrine, at The Raptor Center, http://www.raptor.cvm.umn.edu/content.asp?page=2518, from the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. See some of the Raptor Center’s education birds and hear the sounds of peregrines.

How are whooping cranes being reintroduced to the eastern U.S.? What is the path taken by migrating whooping cranes? Find out at the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/index.html. If you’re lucky enough to live near Laurel, Maryland, you could volunteer at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

All materials featured on this site are the property of the Elementary Science Integration Projects (ESIP) and/or their respective authors, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any form, printed or electronic, without express written permission.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9912078. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.