Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom

March Page

Spring is Just Around the Corner

Vernal Equinox

This is a great time of year to take your students for a walk and observe the signs that tell us spring is on the way.

  • Prepare for your walk by reading the Frog and Toad story "Spring," from Frog and Toad are Friends.
  • Discuss the meaning of the saying, "Spring is just around the corner." What are the signs of spring? What is spring?
  • As you take your walk, students will look for new life emerging and observe the buds fattening up on trees and bushes.
  • If possible, students may also photograph signs of spring and use the photos for a multimedia or online presentation.
  • Students will gather materials on their walk to use as visual aids for reporting what they have seen when they get back to the classroom.
  • Students will write their observations in a journal and draw pictures to illustrate.
  • Take a walk along the same path a week later to see further changes.
  • Students map their walk, using trees, sidewalks, buildings, etc., as points of reference.
  • If taking a walk is not practical, students may look for signs of spring in the evenings or over the weekend and report back.

Prairie Spring, By Willa Cather

Evening and the flat land,
Rich and sombre and always silent;
The miles of fresh-plowed soil,
Heavy and black, full of strength and harshness;
The growing wheat, the growing weeds,
The toiling horses, the tired men;
The long empty roads,
Sullen fires of sunset, fading,
The eternal, unresponsive sky.
Against all this, Youth,
Flaming like the wild roses,
Singing like the larks over the plowed fields,
Flashing like a star out of the twilight;
Youth with its insupportable sweetness,
Its fierce necessity,
Its sharp desire,
Singing and singing,
Out of the lips of silence,
Out of the earthy dusk.

Discussion Questions

Vernal Equinox

March 20 is the Vernal, or Spring, Equinox, the beginning of astronomical spring.

Equinox is derived from the Latin words that mean "equal night." The equinoxes are the two days each year when the middle of the Sun is an equal amount of time above and below the horizon for every location on Earth. In other words the sun would be directly over the Equator.

In the southern hemisphere, the Autumnal Equinox occurs at the same time as our Vernal Equinox.

  • Students locate the southern hemisphere on a globe and name three countries where Autumn is beginning at the same time spring is beginning here.
  • The new moon closest to the Vernal Equinox is traditionally the best time to plant. Students figure out when that is.
  • Students plant some seeds on the new moon closest to the Vernal Equinox and some another day to determine which seeds do best. Make sure all other variables are the same.

Writing Prompt: Write about a springtime experience.

 

Books

Barry, Frances, Big Yellow Sunflower, Candlewick, 2009. (Grades PreK-3)

The petal-like pages open into a larger-than-life sunflower. With each page, a worm, a bee, a bird and other creatures watch as a seed germinates and grows into a tall plant topped with a big bloom.

Branley, Franklin M., Sunshine Makes the Seasons, Collins, 2005. (Grades 1-5)

Explains the concept of the seasons, using a pencil and orange and focusing on the relationship between the Earth and Sun.

Lobel, Arnold, Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury (I Can Read Book 2), HarperCollins, 2013. (Grades PreK-3)

Includes the complete art and text from four classics: Frog and Toad Are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, Frog and Toad All Year, and Days with Frog and Toad.

McKneally, Ranida, and Grace Lin, Our Seasons, Charlesbridge, 2007. (Grades K-5)

Haiku poetry accompanies season-related questions about weather and the natural world.

 

March Page

Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom

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Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.