A Snow Themed Literature Unit Study with Katy and the Big Snow

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Katy and the Big Snow Literature Unit Study

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Katy and the Big Snow is a children’s classic. If you have children who are interested in big vehicles like bulldozers, they will especially enjoy Katy’s story. The book makes for a great read aloud, and the illustrations are bright and engaging as well.

Book Information

Title- Katy and the Big Snow

Author- Virginia Lee Burton

Recommended ages PreK-2nd grade

Synopsis– Katy is a large red tractor that works for the Highway Department in Geoppolis. During the summer, the job of the Highway Department is to keep the roads in good repair. And Katy is great at it. In the winter, the Highway Department’s job is to keep the roads free of snow so that the cars can get through.

Unfortunately there is never enough snow for big, strong Katy to clear away. Until one winter when it snows and snows and snows. All other vehicles are blocked and places all around the city are closed. Finally Katy gets her chance to clear away this big snow.

Some of the activities below will use printables from my Katy and Big Snow Printables Pack. You can get it free here (no subscription required).

Language Arts

Adjective Scavenger Hunt

There are some great adjectives used to describe Katy and the snow that comes on Geoppolis. Talk to kids about what an adjective is. Then go on an adjective scavenger hunt to see how many adjectives you can find. Write the adjectives on the sheet included in the Katy and the Big Snow Printables Pack.

Snowflake Vocabulary

Classic children’s literature often has beautiful language, but some of the words might be unfamiliar to kids. Print the snowflake vocabulary words in the Katy and the Big Snow Printables Pack. Help kids find those words in the story and talk about what they mean.

Story Sequencing

Cut apart the story sequence cards in the Katy and the Big Snow Printables Pack. Mix them up and let kids put them in the order they happened in the story.

Creative Writing

Have kids write- or dictate for younger children- a story about what they would do if their town had a big snow like Geoppolis.


Snowstorm in a Jar

Growing a Jeweled Rose has a fun science experiment that involves creating a snowstorm in a jar.

Melting Snow Experiment

If you actually get snow where you live- as we seldom do- you can try this experiment that involves exploring melting snow from Little Bins for Little Hands.

Make Your Own Snow

If you get some really cold temperatures but don’t have actual snow, you can try making your own snow with these cool (get it, cool?) ideas.

Learn How Snow Is Made

Easy Science for Kids has a page with lots of information, pictures and a video about how snow is made.

Video: What Makes It Snow

In this Free School video kids will learn about how snow is made.

Social Studies

Map Reading

Look at the map that is illustrated toward the front of the book. This map is an awesome way to introduce kids to map reading. You can talk about the compass points. (The compass picture is called a Compass Rose.) You can help kids use the numbers to find the different buildings in town.

Map Your Neighborhood

Draw a simple diagram of your street or a few streets in your neighborhood. Have kids think about what houses and buildings are on the street and draw and label them. If you don’t have a big neighborhood or other people who live nearby, you could also do this with a main street in your town. Draw the street and the shops and buildings and label them.

Using a Map

This neighborhood map on the Crayola site would be a good tool for helping kids learn to use the map to find information they need. You can print the map for kids to color and then ask them the questions at the bottom and teach them to use the map to answer them.

Crafts and Fun

Compass Rose Craft

This craft from The Classroom Key, which involves making a beautiful Compass Rose, will help kids to learn the directional points on a compass.

Make a Map With Cat in the Hat

This Cat in the Hat Mapping Tool on the PBS Kids site is awesome. You can use it to map an area indoors or out. Choose a smaller area- like your yard or a room in the house. There are options to make the ground look like the ground cover inside or out and then shapes kids can place in the appropriate place to create an accurate map.

Create Snowflakes

Kids can create beautiful snowflakes easily with this craft from The Chaos and the Clutter.

Snow Slime in a Jar

Kids can make this awesome snow slime from No Time for Flashcards for themselves or for a gift.

Instant Snow

This Snow Dough from Adventures in Wunderland would be super easy to make and the perfect alternative if you don’t have snow in your area.

Snow books for kids

More Snow Books for Kids

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino

The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story by Neil Waldman

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Snow! by Cynthia Rylant

Snow Is Falling by Franklyn M. Branley

Curious About Snow by Gina Shaw

Other Resources

Homeschool Share has a free lapbook for Katy and the Big Snow.

If you don’t have snow in your neck of the woods, don’t despair. You can make Insta-Snow with this powder.

Katy and the Big Snow Literature Unit Study

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