Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting Around on the Snow

It just keeps on snowing – and the snow keeps getting deeper and deeper. When there’s a lot of snow on the ground, many animals have a hard time getting around. But not the lynx and snowshoe hare – their feet are large and wide compared to the rest of their body. And covered with extra hair. Those big, hairy feet allow them to float on top of the snow instead of sinking.

If you try walking on top of fresh, deep snow, you’ll sink up to your knees – or deeper! But if you lie down and make snow angels you don’t, because your body weight is spread over a larger area.

The trick to walking on top of snow is to spread your weight out. Like lynx and snowshoe hares, you need bigger feet. You can make your feet larger by strapping on a pair of snowshoes.

If you don’t have snowshoes, cardboard boxes (without topses) will do. Just grab a pizza box or two and some heavy-duty scissors. Put your boot on a piece of cardboard and draw a line around it – but five inches (about a hand-span) wider than the boot’s edge. Mark two dots on each side of the boot – that’s where you’ll poke holes for your shoestring “snowshoe bindings”.

Shape your snowshoe outline into an oval, and cut it out. Poke the holes where you marked, and use shoelaces or twine to tie them on your feet. Then grab a ruler and head outside.

First, take a few steps in the snow without your snowshoes. How deep do you sink?
Now tie on your snow-walking pizza shoes and take some steps. What’s it like to have big feet? Do you walk differently? More important – how far do you sink into the snow?

1 comment:

  1. love your ideas and your fun learn about science approach! Next week the RMBL Winter Kids Nature Camp is all about "snow science". thanks a bunch!