Monday, March 30, 2015

Eat Like A Bear! (Freebies!)

It's Bear Week here at HHH!  Colby has had so much fun studying bears from around the world, and especially eating lots of "bear food"!

Inspired by First Grade Garden's fabulous bear chart, we focused on four types of bears this week: black bears, grizzly bears, polar bears, and panda bears.  My original intent was to copy her chart, but all of my large chart paper was lost in our recent classroom flood.  Instead, I adapted it for use with our large hanging pocket chart:

Please excuse the messy photo (and my husband's work boots at the bottom)!  Because of the flood, we've been unable to use the classroom and had to hang our chart in the living room on the stair railings.

You can write the students' answers on index cards or anything similar, but if you'd like the blank cards we used, you can download them here.

I also created a set of worksheets to go with it.  There is one for each type of bear, and they look like this:

The big, blank box at the top is space for the student to draw a picture of the bear in its habitat.  Then there is space for the child to choose three interesting facts, write them, and illustrate them.

On Monday, we started off with a great video from one of our favorite YouTube channels, Animal Atlas:

Then we read Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre, and illustrated by Steve Jenkins, one of our favorites!

What a great book!  It was a fantastic introduction to how a bear's diet changes through the year as different foods become available and others scarce.  It was also a great jumping off point to discuss how a black or brown bear's diet is actually pretty similar to a healthy human diet!  We're both omnivorous, and have lots of foods in common.  We decided to "eat like a bear!" all week and made sure we ate lots of foods that bears like:

Leafy greens
Roots & Tubers
Apples & other tree fruits

We also discussed how, like humans, bears have a natural sweet tooth.  If they have access to lots of honey or other sweet foods, they will eat more than they should.  Not only can this keep them from eating the healthier foods they need to store up quality fat for winter, it can cause cavities in their teeth, just like ours!  Bears with rotting teeth often die when they can no longer tear and chew the foods they need.

Colby had a blast stuffing himself with the bear foods from the list!  We eat venison regularly, but we'd never tried bison before.  We picked up a few pounds of bison burger from the local bison farm (check out Beech Hill Farm & Bison Ranch!) and immediately became huge fans.  It's actually quite similar to the beef from our Highland cattle.

Colby filled out this Venn diagram comparing bear food with the foods he eats:

Some of the foods that ended up in the "bears only" section were grubs, ants, etc.  We don't eat insects (at least, not on purpose!), but we discussed the fact that lots of people around the world do eat grubs and bugs regularly and though it seems gross to our family, they are actually nutritious foods for both bears and humans.

On Tuesday we read American Black Bears

After the book, we filled out the cards for the "black bear" column of our chart.  Then Colby completed the worksheet, choosing three facts about black bears to write down and illustrate.

The next day, we read Grizzly Bears by Gail Gibbons:

We filled out the "grizzly bears" column of our chart, and Colby completed his "Grizzly Bears" worksheet (finished product shown above).

On Thursday, we read Polar Bears by Gail Gibbons:

Then the chart, and the worksheet of course! ;)

And finally, Giant Pandas by Gail Gibbons:

Our chart was complete and looking fantastic, and all four worksheets are done!  We're going to make a cover for them and staple them into a book.

I hope our freebies can help you in your own bear unit!

For more great freebies and DIY homeschool ideas, check us out on Pinterest!
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