Lesson plan

Bears and hibernation

Learn about the fat and fur on a bear, and why it needs such insulation
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Classification of Living Things, Biodiversity (1, 3)

Students rotate between three activities, 15 mins each

!. Fat test for keeping warm

2. Fur test for keeping warm

3. Make bear prints

Review what the fat and fur do for hibernating bears:
They both stop heat from escaping. They are insulators.
The fat also is an energy reserve for the bears. At the end of hibernation a lot of the fat has gone, as the body has used it up.
The fur also protects against wet and wind.

Look at bear skull
Compare to the human skull, and your own teeth
What do you eat, and bears - both have the same kinds of teeth.
Bears eat pine nuts, cranberries, dandelions.
Bears will eat for up to 16 hour/day during the summer and finally their weight begins to rise.
They may feed on 50,000-200,000 berries each day.
Draw a picture of a bear hibernating.
Where would be a good place to hibernate? Need somewhere hidden and sheltered from the weather. Hollow tree, cave, dug out burrow.

Other activity ideas:

1. Feel our heart rate. When an animal hibernates its heart rate slows down.
Take our temperature. When an animal hibernates its temperature drops.

2. Watch webcam of Grouse Mountain bears hibernating.
Talk about when they went into hibernation, and how long they hibernate for (about 4 months).
Bears lower heart rate to a third, but only drop body temp by a degree (like us at night).
Dormant bears do not eat, drink, urinate or defaecate, the heart rate drops from 50–60 beats/min to 8–12/beats min, and oxygen consumption is only 32% of that of actively foraging bears.

3. Lots of bear videos, and bear vocalizations at www.bear.org

Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2