Guest Author - Alissa Moy
Before the beloved bears go into their Winter slumber, or hibernation, take some time to explore bears in the season of Fall! Begin your unit by listing the eight types of bears in the world. These are the American Black Bear, Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Asiatic Black Bear, Giant Panda Bear, Sloth Bear, Spectacled Bear and Sun Bear. Books, like "100 Things You Should Know About Bears" are fantastic for learning about each type of bear in detail. A website called "Bears of the World" is also an excellent resource for information about the bear types. After listing and learning about the eight types of bears list them on a whiteboard or poster. Have your homeschooler decide which bear he or she identified most with, and write about it in a journal. Use a bear paper pattern as a cover or even as journal pages. Check out "Billy Bear 4 Kids" for patterns, as well as some neat bear crafts! Try making a Panda bear paper mask or a felt mask for a hand made Halloween costume.
The season of autumn brings about discussion of how bears change with the seasons. Discuss and read about hibernation. An especially good book for this is "Why do Bears Sleep All Winter?" It is easy for your elementary students to understand, and it offers interesting facts to keep your homeschooler's attention. Now is a great time to teach or review the seasons, the months of the year and the calendar as a whole. Plan a family "camp in" where you can all sleep in a tent (indoors or outdoors) and pretend to be bears hibernating. Be sure to bring bear books, and teddy bears, along with bear treats. Gummy bears, bear claws and teddy grahams are super snacks for camping fun.
Be sure to read about bears that are classic characters, such as the Berenstain Bears. Perfect books for fall include "The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat" and "The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin". There are two wonderful websites as well, that offer games, book materials and worksheets, lesson ideas and a Bear Country Barn Theater. The theater, at the Berenstain Bears site offers videos for viewing of their family cartoon currently on television.
Some other fun and educational activities include sorting gummy bears by color, creating patterns with the bears, and using them as Math manipulatives. If your homeschooler has several teddy bears attempt to classify them into types and groups, such as the Giant Panda or Brown Bear. Enjoy some jump rope exercise to "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" and role play bears on all fours! No matter how you choose to explore the season of Fall with bears you will surely have a creative and cuddly experience.