Fat Bears in the Classroom

Explore.org invites teachers to take bear cam into the classroom and consider the different ways that bears find success in Katmai's challenging environment. Utilizing the Brooks Bears Curriculumsubmit your students' questions to rangers, and they'll be addressed in a special video series on October 3rd.
The deadline to submit student questions via this form is September 26th.
Developed by Learning in Motion in partnership with explore.org, Fat Bear Week in the Classroom allows students to experience the excitement of watching live-streaming video of wild bears on Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska, in order to explore science concepts in the real world. These three lessons, designed for grades 3–5, offer students the opportunity to engage in activities that focus in particular on the inheritance and variation of brown bear traits.

Anchoring Phenomenon - Every summer, the brown bears of Katmai, Alaska converge along the Brooks River to fish for sockeye salmon.
Standards And Objectives - The objectives of these lessons focus on differences between inherited and acquired traits with an emphasis on recognizing patterns, interpreting data, and gathering evidence. The lessons are correlated to Grade 3, 4, and 5 science standards including the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Science.
The 5Es - This series of lessons is based on the 5E model of engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate.
Resources - For background information about brown bears, see the suggested websites and books.
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Lesson 1: Introducing the Brown Bears - Students find out about the brown bears that fish for salmon along the Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska, and are introduced to the Guiding Question. The class watches a video clip, views photographs, and observes the physical and behavioral differences between bears at different life stages. After learning definitions of traits, students work in pairs to categorize brown bears’ specific traits as being either inherited or acquired.
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Lesson 2: Observing the Brown Bears - Students begin by reviewing and discussing their categorizations of brown bears’ specific traits as being either inherited or acquired. After observing a photograph and video clip, students find out that bears learn (acquire) their fishing techniques. Students observe individual bears on the live bear cam and record their observations on a data sheet. When they are done, the class watches a video clip of bears using different fishing techniques. The lesson concludes with students using what they have learned about bears’ fishing techniques in order to come up with a question they might answer while watching a live cam.
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Lesson 3: Identifying the Brown Bears - Students begin this lesson by sharing the question they wrote at the end of Lesson 2. Then they again use a data sheet to record their observations of individual bears on a live cam from Brooks River. When they are done with the live observations, the class views photographs of four bears that belong to the same family. They identify the inherited and acquired traits of each.
Download Lesson Three Download Video 5