Grades K to Grade 4
Chronicle Books LLC, 2011
Even if children do not live in an area that experiences seasonal change, videos and books about snow can help students imagine and understand something they have never experienced first-hand.
In this book, a young girl and her father set out on a cross-country skiing adventure. Together, they observe clues that support the existence of a “secret kingdom under the snow.” Teachers and students can use this book to explore winter habitats, biodiversity, and even predator-prey relationships that all take place over and under the snow.
This book can also be used to support and strengthen students’ science vocabulary. For example, the area between the surface of the ground and the bottom of the snowpack actually has a scientific term: the subnivean zone. The word subnivean comes from the Latin “sub” (under) and “nives” (snow), which nicely parallels Messner’s chosen title for this book.
Learn about the subnivean zone’s inhabitants and how they use this space for protection, food, and transportation. Make prior knowledge connections by comparing the subnivean zone to your own home; how are they alike and different?
Couple this story with further outdoor exploration using the following PLT activities:
# 6 – Evergreens in Winter
# 8 – Adopt a Tree
# 10 – Trees as Habitats
# 7 – Habitat Pen Pals
# 8 – The Forest of S.T. Shrew
# 22 – Trees as Habitats
# 23 – The Fallen Log
# 45 – Web of Life