Friday, August 19, 2011

Black Bear Mini-Unit

Our school year has officially started! For my Littles (ages 9,9 and 6) we are beginning the year with a bear study. We're focusing on black bears, since they are our 'local' bear, with a sprinkling of grizzly, sun, koala, polar and panda for good measure. We had the good fortune of having a personal encounter with a black bear a few years ago while camping. The children were eating s'mores around the campfire in the afternoon. A bear came wandering near our camp, so my Honey, my SIL and I stood between the bear and the kids and watched him walk past. The children could see him well and they all, except Troubles, remember the experience.

For our study we read some books:

Bears for Kids by Jeff Fair
Black Bear Baby by Alan Lind
The Three Bears by Paul Galdone
Bearskin by Howard Pyle
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (This was made even more relevant by a recent gift to our family of pounds of blueberries from a friends bush.)
Little Bear (and the others in the series) by Elsa Holmelund Minarik
Jessie Bear stories by Nancy Carlstrom

If we want to spend more time with bear characters, we'll read some Paddington. We read both Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh's Corner last year. I have all my early readers read "The Bears on Hemlock Mountain", so I did not read it with them now.

We did not, please note, read any Berenstein Bears. I do not like them. Father Bear is portrayed as an idiot and he is looked at with scorn by Mother and the children. I won't have those disrespectful storylines in the house.

We watched some videos:

Baby Bear Squeaks
Lost Baby Bear Calls For Momma
Grizzly Roars
Sleepy Baby Bear

We used some other sites, too.

Here's a bear den webcam that we have kept an eye on.

Of course we discussed bear safety. This is old hat to my Lambies since we camp in bear country often.

We have seen a replica black bear paw, real teeth and even skulls several times in the ranger station that we visit when we go camping. I'd love to see a model of a black vs grizzly paw in real life. This would make a real impression!
(awesome picture from CoolRVers)

I created a pretty easy bear word search for them using this tool.

They did a coloring page or two.

Since bears love honey and seeds, we made these Sesame Honey Candies. We did not sprinkle them with ants or grubs to make them even more like a bears natural diet.

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