• Curecanti National Recreation Area


    National Recreation Area Colorado

Changing With the Seasons

National Park Service Mission

...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education is committed to: Creating an awareness and fostering an appreciation for the mission of the National Park Service and the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.


Curriculum enhancing activities designed to complement national and state content standards across a variety of disciplines.

Title: Changing With The Seasons

Grade level: Kindergarten

Time length: 30 minutes

Theme: People and animals vary their activities with the seasons.

Materials: For an approximate class size of 28: a handful of yellow or orange leaves (or snowflakes if lesson is used in winter); 36" X 48" felt board; laminated names of seasons; laminated pictures of a tree for each season and people and bears doing appropriate activities for each season (see section III.); 7 laminated pictures of school buses, kites, insects, berries, and fish; 7 pairs of mittens or gloves; 7 scarves; 4 tables (one for each season, placed at different corners of the room); battery-powered audio cassette player; marching music; picture book about a bear.

Faunal, F. (1984). March Time (Eastman Wind Ensemble). New York: Polygram Classics, Inc.

Arnosky, J. (1993). Every Autumn Comes the Bear. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.


Knowledge level: Students will be able to verbally name the four seasons. Students will be able to name the seasons, in order.

Comprehension level: Students will be able to verbally give examples of how people vary their activities with the seasons.

Students will be able to verbally give examples of how animals vary their activities with the seasons.


(The following text is for the fall lesson. If the lesson is taught in winter, substitute snowflakes for leaves and change text as appropriate.)

Blow a handful of leaves in the direction of the students. "What does this remind you of? During the season called spring, leaves begin to grow on the trees. Can you tell me what the other three seasons are? Winter, Summer, and Fall. Let's learn a poem to help us remember the order of the seasons.

"In the spring I fly my kite,

During the summer the sun shines bright.

Leaves change color in the fall,

Winter’s snow is fun for all."

So, how many seasons are there all together? 4! Do we change during the seasons? Yes. In the winter, we put on warm clothes and boots and play in the snow. In the summer, we can play without wearing warm coats and boots. Animals also change during the seasons. Some grow another coat of fur. Some bury lots of food, and others sleep throughout the winter. The animal that we’re going to look at today is the bear. Let's see how people and bears change during the seasons."


"Does anyone know what season it is? Spring! (Put word on felt board and spell it with students). How do we know it's spring? It’s the season that comes after a long, cold winter. It’s not snowing anymore, instead it’s raining. Flowers are starting to grow and the trees look green again. In the spring, the trees look like this." Place the tree on the felt board. "The leaves start to grow and they look green. What’s your favorite thing to do in the springtime? Well I like to fly a kite, like these kids are doing (put picture on felt board). What do you think bears are doing right about now? I’ll give you a hint. During the winter, bears sleep a lot, maybe for months without waking up. What do you do after you’ve slept for a long time? The bears are waking up, stretching, and going out to look for food (put pictures on board). Who can remind me what season we’re talking about? Spring!

What season comes after Spring? Summer! (Put word on felt board and spell it with students). What happens to the weather in the summer, does it get hotter or colder? It gets hot. What do you like to do in the summer? I like to go swimming in a lake (put pictures on board). The leaves on the trees are big and green during the summer. What are the bears doing in the summertime? They’re eating lots of insects and berries.

What season comes after summer? Fall, or autumn. (Put word on felt board and spell it with students). In the fall, the leaves change colors and then fall off the trees. In the fall, kids go back to school." Place the school bus on the felt board." Bears eat a lot of food to get ready for winter. We drink hot chocolate in the winter to get warm, and we eat ice cream in the summer. Bears also eat different foods in the different seasons. In the spring, they eat berries and insects. In the fall, they may eat more fish." Place the bear and the fish on the felt board. "What is the name of this season when the leaves are changing colors, children are going back to school and bears are eating a lot of fish? Fall."

What season comes after fall? Winter! (Put word on felt board and spell it with students). How do we know it's winter? In the winter, it gets cold outside and it might snow. The trees don’t have leaves on them. Kids go outside and play in the snow, and they wear jackets, boots, and gloves. What are the bears doing in the winter? They’re sleeping, for a long, long time, without eating or waking up.

IV. CHECK FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING (there’s usually not time for this review)

Place pictures from each season, one season at a time, on the felt board, asking students what season it is. For example, place the fall pictures on the board and ask, "What is the name of the season when the leaves change colors, children go back to school, and bears are eating a lot of food to get ready for winter?"


Place the laminated pictures of the tree, people and bear and the laminated name of the season on the appropriate table, along with the props (winter: hats, gloves; summer: bugs and berries; spring: kites; fall: fish and school buses)

Marching to the Seasons

"We need to divide into two groups for our next activity, 'Marching to the Seasons'. Divide into two groups, with a ranger leading each group. "When the music starts, you will march in a line behind the ranger to one of the four seasons tables. Make sure you follow YOUR ranger and don’t get lost! When the music stops, you will do an activity at the table. When the music starts again, you will march in line to the next table. Now line up behind your leader and get ready to march when the music starts." The ranger carrying the audio cassette player will start the music. Both rangers will start marching, one leading his or her group to the fall table and the other leading his or her group to the spring table, leaving a table between the two groups. Before students start their activities at each table, ask students what season they think it is. For example, at the fall table ask, "What is the name of the season when the leaves change colors, children go back to school and bears are eating a lot of food?" Show the word "fall" and review the letters that spell "fall". After asking students about the season at each table, guide students through the appropriate activities. For example, at the fall table, have the "people" pretend to drive school buses, verbally reinforcing that some children might ride school buses when they go back to school in the fall. Next, have the "bears" pretend to eat fish, verbally reinforcing that bears have to eat a lot of food during the fall because they are getting ready to go to sleep for the winter. (At the spring table, the bears stretch and yawn because they’ve just woken up from hibernation, the people fly kites; summer table: people pretend to swim, bears pretend to eat bugs and berries; winter table: people dress warmly in hats and gloves, bears sleep). The activities at each table correspond to the pictures of the people and the bears used during the anticipatory set. After both groups have finished at their table, the ranger will start the music. The rangers will lead the students to the next tables (in order of the seasons), repeating the pattern of asking about the characteristics of that season and having students do the corresponding activities.


Not appropriate.


Repeat the poem from the anticipatory set until the students can say it on their own. Then read the story, Every Autumn Comes the Bear (Arnosky, 1993), or Time to Sleep (Fleming, 1997).

Final check for student understanding: Randomly ask students to name one of the seasons until all four have been named. Ask one student to name the order of the seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). Then randomly ask students to give examples of how people and bears vary their activities with the seasons, checking for comprehension of seasonal changes in people and animals.


Indicate what you judge to have been the strengths of the lesson, what changes you made during the lesson and what changes you would make if you were to teach the unit again.

Did You Know?

Morrow Point Dam

Morrow Point Dam, found within the silent walls of the Black Canyon, was the first thin-arch, double curvature concrete dam built in the United States (completed in 1968).