As I turned the page of my calendar this morning, I began thinking about all of the Wonders of the Day at Wonderopolis that I want to share with my students and some activities I may use with the Wonders before our winter break begins (and a few to share when we return).

#541 Why Aren’t There More Holidays?

  • Have your students create their own holiday, or use The Ultimate Holiday Site to pick an “unofficial” holiday.  Have them write about their holiday (when it would be, how it would be celebrated, and who would celebrate it) or have them write a persuasive writing piece trying to persuade a chosen audience (parents, teachers, government officials) why their holiday should be “official”.

#455 What Foods Bring Luck in the New Year?

  • Have students talk about, or write about traditions they have in their family for the New Year.  Are there special foods they eat?  Places they go?  People they visit with?

#545 Why Are Some Drinks Bubbly?

  • This is a perfect science Wonder.  The ‘Try it out!’ section describes how to perform the famous Diet Coke and Mentos experiment.  It also has a link for a Soda Balloon experiment.  What a great way to engage students during such a crazy time of the school year!

#448 How Did Candy Canes Get Their Shape?

  • This Wonder would be great to use for creating a timeline from informational text.  The dates are easily identified and found in the text and stretch from the mid-1600s to the 1950s.  Each date has information that could be added to the timeline.

#443 How Do You Make Candles?

  • This Wonder not only talks about the history of candles, but shares how different cultures incorporate lighting candles in their traditions including, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.  This would be a great starting point to compare and contrast different holiday traditions.  You could even have students compare and contrast their holiday traditions to a different culture.

#441 What Makes Something a Holiday Classic?

  • After discussing what a makes a ‘classic’ holiday movie (maybe even creating class check-list or rubric), have students use persuasive writing to try and persuade their friends why they think a particular movie should be chosen as a ‘classic’.

#439 Why Do We Wrap Presents?

  • This is another good Wonder for discussing holiday traditions, but as I was reading the Wonder, I was astounded to learn that, “scientist estimate that the United States alone generates an extra 5 million tons of waste over the holidays, most of which is from wrapping paper and shoppings bags.”  You could discuss the three Rs with this Wonder (reuse, reduce and recycle) or brainstorm possible solutions to the problem that wrapping gifts creates in our landfills.

#437 How Are Sleds and Sleighs Different?

  • You could use this Wonder to compare and contrast sleds and sleighs using a Venn diagram.  It is a great Wonder to review such words as friction and gravity, too.

#428 Who Was St. Nick?

  • Another great holiday tradition Wonder including what other countries call Santa Claus.  You could make a class chart including what other countries call Santa, what he does for the children in that country and maybe when he visits.  Put them into groups and let them research the questions and fill in the chart.

#427 What’s Your Favorite Holiday Cookie?

  • Who doesn’t love a yummy holiday cookie?  I’ve found myself discussing with co-workers our favorite holiday cookies.  After you have read the Wonder as a class, have students draw or write their favorite cookie on a post-it note and create class graph.  For older children you could have them visit a younger class to collect data and create their own graphs.

#90 Why Do People Make New Year’s Resolutions?

  • This would be a great Wonder to share before having students write about their own resolutions, tell why they chose those resolutions and then share them with their classmates.

#89 How Did the Months of the Year Get Their Names?

  • With the start of the New Year, kids will love learning how the months got their names.  I think this is a good Wonder for having the students predict where the names came from before reading the Wonder.  You could put the kids in groups, have them choose a month and then share how they think the month got its name.

#84 What Is Boxing Day?

  • Though this isn’t a holiday celebrated in the United States, it is a great way to talk about other holiday traditions.

#82 Do Reindeer Live Outside the North Pole?

  • The reindeer (caribou) is described in the Wonder, including some of its body parts and how they are used.  You could use the Wonder to create a diagram and label the parts.  It would also be a good Wonder for talking about animal adaptions for different parts of the world.  Why would/wouldn’t the reindeer survive in a different climate?

#80 Why Do People Kiss Under Mistletoe?

  • This is a fun Wonder for sharing another holiday tradition.

#78 How Do People Celebrate the Winter Holidays?

  • There are three winter holidays discussed in the Wonder, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Advent.  I will use this Wonder to create a class chart to compare the three.  I will use this Wonder in conjunction with, #443 How Do You Make Candles?.

 

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  1. Great post! Thanks for putting this together. My students have placed the Candy Cane wonder right up there with the day we met Ormie. :)

    • HOORAY, we’re so excited that your classroom is WONDERing about the holidays, Bridget! We hope you are all having a WONDERful Wednesday– thanks for stopping by today! :)

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