Word Wall Snowstorm

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Students choose vocabulary from a word wall, then write about it by listening and watching for
their word in a video.

Word Wall Snowstorm

Key Concepts: Climate change, northern impacts, changes over time, human impacts on the environment.

Print & Copy:
Word snowflake graphic organizer, or make your own snowflake (One per vocabulary word plus several extras; should work out to about two snowflakes per group of students)
Arctic Action poster template (Optional; One per student)


  1. Set up a word wall by posting word snowflakes on a wall. Write key vocabulary words in the centre of each snowflake. Include some words that don’t belong.
  2. Set up a video about the effects of climate change in the Canadian Arctic, such as: Northern Communities Video with Caitlyn Baike.


  1. Ask groups of students to look at the word wall to find one word that doesn’t belong and one word that does belong.
  2. Pause to share the word they selected and explain why it doesn’t belong. Remove those words to a central location.
  3. Demonstrate how to listen and look for vocabulary in a video. Wiggle your fingers in the air like falling snow each time you see or hear the key concepts (optional).
  4. Watch the video clip, listening and watching for vocabulary.
  5. Ask each group to add a definition, example, or small diagram to their word snowflake.
  6. Watch the video clip at least one more time.
  7. Exchange snowflakes and repeat, giving groups a chance to add information to different word snowflakes (optional).
  8. Post the word wall, leaving out the words that did not belong.

Discussion Questions

Choose one or several of the questions below.


  • What are some new ideas you have about the Arctic as a result of this video?
  • What are some new ideas you have about climate change as a result of this video?
  • What did you think of the words that don’t belong? Did they help you in any way?


  • What are some examples that show how the Earth is changing over time?
  • How does weather affect living things in the Arctic?
  • How does temperature change throughout the year?
  • How can you predict when the weather will be warmer each year?
  • How can you predict when the Arctic sea ice will thaw each spring?
  • How do you think that people living in the Arctic prepare for winter?
  • How do you think that animals living in the Arctic prepare for winter?


  • Do you agree that local actions can really have global effects? Why or why not?
  • Give one example how Arctic indigenous peoples live with the land and work to protect it.

Teacher Tips

  • Word walls should be interactive and change over time. As you teach, refer back to the word wall snowstorm, inviting students to add to the snowflakes.
  • Post the word wall on the day that a new topic is introduced and use it to pre-teach important keywords and terms.
  • Invite students to look for interconnections between terms and concepts. Some may even want to organize the placement of snowflakes on the word wall into categories.
  • Use a variety of videos to introduce vocabulary for climate change, northern impacts, and/ or adaptations, as appropriate.

Follow-up: Research an Animal


Baike, C. (n.d.) Northern Communities Video with Caitlyn Baike [Video]. Vimeo.

Fetterman, K. & Kozlowski, J. (2017). Making science visible. Science Scope. 40(8), 26-29.

Hall, M., & Dougherty Stahl, K. (2012). Devillianizing video in support of comprehension and vocabulary
instruction. The Reading Teacher. 65(6), 403-406.

Kracl, C., & Harshbarger, D. (2017). Methods & Strategies: Ask the Right Question. Science and Children. 54(9), 78-82.

Roberts, N. & Truxaw, M. (2013). For ELLs: Vocabulary beyond the Definitions. The Mathematics Teacher.
107(1), 28-34.

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