In a little over a month we will officially begin Winter, though it feels like we've been fully engulfed in it already here in Anchorage, Alaska. Solstices and Equinoxes are important markers this far north, where we notice the drastic differences from the midnight sun of June to the long dark & cold days in December. The winter solstice is our hub of reference and the peak at which we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You don't have to be at an extreme latitude to notice the differences and compare them to other parts of the world.
A local artist, Debbie Miller and illustrator, Jon Van Zyle teamed up to create the fantastic book Arctic Nights, Arctic Lights. Each page illustrates the average day for each month, a short description about what a typical day in interior Alaska looks like, the average temp and the sunrise and sunset times. The border on each page is cleaverly a chart of the amount of daylight and darkness for each day. There is also a brief informational introduction about Alaska and the characteristics of life at this latitude and a great glossary of terms specific to this locale.
This book & topic provide so much fodder for all kinds of learning opportunities and integrated cross-curricular lessons. Math, science and social studies completely intertwined! No matter what level you teach there exist so many ways to extend from this simple & beautiful picture book.
Writing & Art: