Lesson Plan

A Bear’s Menu

A Grizzly bear sits in sagebrush.

Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park

NPS/Peaco

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
Art, Biology: Animals, Conservation, Environment, Reading, Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management
Duration:
2 one hour sessions
Group Size:
Up to 36 (6-12 breakout groups)
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7
Next Generation Science Standards: MS-LS2-1., MS-LS2-3., MS-LS2-4.
Keywords:
art, bear, biology animals, Conservation, cycle, environment, feeding habits, reading, wildlife biology, wildlife management, Yellowstone

Overview

Working in small groups, students examine the feeding habits of bears and draw pictures to show what bears do in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Students use a small pattern of a grizzly bear and increase its scale to construct a full-size silhouette in order to appreciate the bear’s size.

Objective(s)

The student will:

  • Describe the seasonal cycle of a bear's life by examining its eating habits.

  • Recognize the shape and size of an adult grizzly bear and compare it to his/her own body size.

Background

Yellowstone provides habitat for both black and grizzly bears. Although they are different species and each has unique physical and behavioral characteristics, they share similar diet requirements. Their feeding habits determine the locations bears inhabit during the year as food availability changes with the seasons.

Grizzly bears were listed as a “threatened” species in 1975 under the Endangered Species Act. Because of the animal’s great size and need for large unpopulated, tracts of land, Yellowstone has identified specific areas of the park as essential bear habitat, where human use is limited and bears pursue natural behavioral patterns. This management of the land is essential for the protection and recovery of this threatened species. The status of grizzly bears in regards to the Endangered Species Act continues to change as scientists further study the specific requirements of these bears for survival.

Materials

Yellowstone Bears handout, Bear Food Chart handout, Bear Characteristics handout, large circular pieces of paper, markers, crayons, pencils, Grizzly Bear Pattern handout, rulers, drawing paper (total of 8 pieces, each 24" x 36")

Procedure

Park Connections

Students learn about grizzly and black bears both of which live in Yellowstone National Park.

Extensions

Look up the current status of grizzly bears in regards to the Endangered Species Act. Discuss what factors were used to determine the current status of grizzly bears.

Additional Resources

The Bears of Yellowstone Electronic Field Trip: http://www.windowsintowonderland.org/bears/index.htm

Dolson, Sylvia (2009). Bear-ology: Fascinating bear facts, tales, & trivia. Masonville, CO: PixyJack Press, LLC.

Shapira, Amy, Douglas H.Chadwick (2011). Growing Up Grizzly: The true story of Baylee and her cubs. Helena, MT: Falcon Guide.

Wondrak Biel, Alice (2006). Do (Not) Feed the Bars: The fitful history of wildlife and tourists in Yellowstone. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Yellowstone’s Bears: http://www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/bears.htm

Vocabulary

Cycle
Ungulate
Carcass
Scavenger
Spawn
Trend
Ratio
Scale
Ecosystem
Habitat