Winter and Conservation Week

Winter and Conservation

Period: 1-17 January 2021

Hello everyone and welcome back to DSC Home Learning.

We hope you had a lovely festive break and are ready for some fun activities a little bit of learning and of course some brilliant competitions.

It may be wintertime but here at DSC we know that there is still so much to enjoy and find out about in nature and the environment.

Home Learning Is Fun
Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash



What Is Winter?

According to the met office, there are two ways of deciding when winter begins and ends. One is the astronomical winter and the other meteorological.

The day in our calendar that marks the first day of winter refers to the astronomical seasons, which are a result of the Earth's axis and orbit around the Sun. Check back to Space Week to find out more on this subject!

This year, astronomical winter begins on 21 December 2020 and ends on 20 March 2021.

The meteorological winter begins on 1 December and ends on the last day of February

Have you heard of the winter solstice? This is the day of the year we have the least sunlight - the shortest day of the year! But the great news is after the 21 December we are heading towards spring!

Watch this BBC video to find out more.

BBC - Solstice: The Earth is Reaching The Turning Point
Winter Trees
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Winter Trees
Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Winter Fun - Frozen Bubbles!

It was very cold and frosty recent, although it is warmer this week it will be cold again soon.

When the frost and snow does come back, why not have a go at making frozen bubbles.

This seems like a simple activity, but you need to have lots and lots of patience.

You may have some bubble mix in the house somewhere - most supermarkets have it in stock - or you could make your own.

You need:

  • 500ml of water
  • 60ml of washing up liquid
  • 30ml of glycerin

Mix it all together and then use a straw or a pipe cleaner or a bit of wire to make a bubble wand.

Watch this video on how to make frozen bubbles.

How To Freeze Soap Bubbles


Check out our attempts - we discovered that:

  • it needs to be a really still day - no wind
  • The outside temperature needs to be below zero
  • We tried on various surfaces but the best was on a frozen bucket of water and a wooden surface that had snow and ice on it.
  • Early morning was best before the sun comes up (although the one taken in the afternoon sun was very pretty!
  • You will need to blow a lot of bubbles before you get a few to stay on the surface and freeze
  • The bubble will probably slowly deflate rather than burst once it starts to freeze.

Send us your bubble photos or even just a lovely winter photo to enter our competition.

Enter Competition

Birds In Winter

During the winter months, we must keep feeding the birds in our gardens and even in the parks.

There are not many seeds and berries around for them and very few insects as they are hiding from the cold, wet weather in the insect hotels we made in the summer.

Why not make some pine cone bird feeders for your garden or window sill.

Watch the video to see how to make your own.

How To Make Your Own Bird Feeder Activity

Did you have a real Christmas tree this year? Is it still lying in the garden?

We got this great idea from a friend of DSC.

Lean your tree - with no baubles of course - against the shed or fence or tie it to the washing pole and then hang fruit and berries and fat balls on it. The birds will love having some protection from the evergreen branches.

Which birds are you seeing in your garden at the moment?

You must remember to check the water in your birdbath. The little birds will not be using it to bath, but they will need it for drinking, so check it each day to make sure it is clean and not frozen over. Also remember to wash and dry your feeders so they are nice a clean for the birds.

The DSC team has been watching the birds in their home area and have seen goldfinches and robins and blackbirds.What are you seeing?

Here are the most common ones - check to see if you can spot any when you are out for a walk.

19 Common British Birds You Can Find In Your Garden
19 Common British Birds You Can Find In Your Garden

Why not check around and see if you see anything a little different that might be here just for Winter.

One of our team walks along a riverbank and often sees a heron doing a bit of fishing and some little dippers. They are fun to watch as they dip in and out of the water. A great thing to do is to take part in the Big Garden Watch.

Check out here how to get involved by visiting Big Garden Birdwatch.

Big Garden Birdwatch
Big Garden Birdwatch
Photograph Credit: Catriona Komlosi
Photograph Credit: Catriona Komlosi
Bird Feeders
Bird Feeders
Heron at the River
Make Your Own Bird Bath
Make Your Own Bird Bath (PDF)

What Is Conservation?

We at DSC are very interested in nature and conservation in Scotland.

But what does conservation mean?

We looked it up in the dictionary, and it says,

the act of conserving; prevention of injury, decay, waste, or loss; preservation: conservation of wildlife; conservation of human rights. official supervision of rivers, forests, and other natural resources to preserve and protect them through prudent management. A district, river, forest, etc., under such supervision. The careful utilization of a natural resource to prevent depletion. The restoration and preservation of works of art.

Goodness, that’s a big list to be thinking about!

So what can we do in our homes and everyday lives?

How about...

  • Turn off the taps when cleaning your teeth
  • Switch off lights and electronic bits and pieces
  • Walk or cycle rather than use the car for short journeys
  • Reduce your plastic usage and recycle whenever you can
  • Avoiding products with Palm Oil that is not sustainable as an ingredient

About nature and conservation, the woodland trust says,

Nature conservation means protecting our environment and the wildlife that lives in it. It includes looking after biodiversity and the health of the planet.

There are lots of simple ways that you can get involved in conservation and start helping the areas and species under threat. All the little tiny things we each do can add up to make a big difference.

Here are some great ideas to get you started from Nature Scot -

There are so many exciting things happening in Scotland around biodiversity and conservation - have a look here and see what you can find out?

One we are very interested in is the reintroduction of Beavers to Scotland.


Beavers are adorable and seem very busy all the time, and until recently they had not been seen in the UK for many hundreds of years when they were released in a controlled manner at Knapdale in Argyle on the West of Scotland in 2009.

Not everyone is happy about that though as some have moved near to farmland and are building their dams and homes - called lodges - and causing some flooding in farmers fields.

When they are left to live in an area with not so much agricultural land, they can provide all sorts of habitats for many other plants and animals. The work they do can be fantastic for biodiversity in an area.

Check out this link and find out more about beavers.

Beavers are living on the River Tay - not very far from where we live! Not everyone is happy about it though, and The Courier has been following our local beavers - have you read this?

Listen to Dr Law telling us about the impact of the reintroduction of the beavers in an area of Scotland.

Beavers Video with Dr Law

Did you know that beavers can chew through huge trees and fell them for their dams and lodges?

Think about how much wood would be required to stop even a slow-moving river.

When you are out for your walk why not gather some sticks and take them home and then build a dam in your garden.

You will need to create a slight slope for your stream. Then build your dam at the end and pour the water down and see what happens! It is quite hard to build a strong dam!

So what happens when humans build dams and what are they for? They are not for keeping snacks underwater like the beavers!

Check out a man-made dam used to generate electricity by using the flowing water to spin a turbine. We made turbines of our own during summer home learning!

Find out more here!

How much wood do you think the wee beavers need to stop the water flowing so fast? The woodpile is not just a dam they are using it as a sort of cold food store to keep the small tasty branches to eat during winter.

And once lockdown is over why not go on a Beaver Safari - we at DSC are all going!

Draw a picture of a beaver, but first you will need to find out about what their tails are made of and what shape their feet are. Do you think they have thick fur or thin? What about their teeth - could you bite through a tree and use it to build a dam. How strong must they be to be able to move some of the logs!

Do lots of research before you start your drawing!

Enter Competition

Explore Our Gallery

Browse the wonderful photographs of Scottish beavers taken by Abi Warner.

Also see our other Galleries.

Beaver Lodge Construction Squad - David Attenborough - BBC Earth
Tay Beavers Habitat
Tay Beavers Habitat (Select To Enlarge)
Beavers Give Native Species Status After Reintroduction to Scotland
Beavers Give Native Species Status After Reintroduction to Scotland (The Guardian)
Make Your Own Water Turbine

Mysterious 'Hair Ice'

Learn more about why ice sometimes forms into hairy clouds that look like candy floss on the BBC web site.

Mysterious 'Hair Ice' is Formed (BBC)
Mysterious 'Hair Ice' is Formed (BBC)

These photos were taken at a local woodland - see if you can find any when the weather turns cold again.

If you have your own photographs of 'hair ice' then why not enter our competition!

Enter Competition

Hair Ice
Photograph of 'Hair Ice'
Hair Ice
Photograph of 'Hair Ice'

Make Your Own Snowy Owl

Have you ever wanted to make your own owl?

Follow our simple instructions and you will have fun make your very own snowy owl.

Don't forget to send us your photographs and enter our competition.

Enter Competition

Completed Snowy Owl
Completed Snowy Owl

Winter Word Search

Try our Winter word search and see how you get on! Download Winter Word Search (PDF).

Also see our other Home Learning Topics information and our Learning Resources.

If you have enjoyed these activities please share them with your friends and family.