Lesson on Animal Adaptations: Polar Bears

Animal Adaptations Polar Bears
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As homeschooling moms, we understand that our children are on all different levels and may not be confined to a specific grade. But as a general guideline, the following resources are for students who are learning on a 2nd-4th grade level. This lesson plan has several worksheets that you can choose from, depending on the independent level of your child. This can serve as several activities for one child or may be used in a co-op setting to differentiate for various learners. This lesson on animal adaptations covers the physical adaptations of  polar bears. 

Take a look at our other articles on homeschooling topics here

Polar Bear Adaptations Lesson

Learning Goal: 

I will use graphic features or evidence from the text to find the adaptations of a polar bear.

Learning Standards:

Speaking & Listening

  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Reading Informational Texts

  • Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.

Connection:

You have been learning so much about different adaptations. Today, you will focus on the physical adaptations of polar bears. You will use graphic features or evidence from the text to tell about a polar bear’s adaptations.

Teach/Guided Practice:

  • Review vocabulary: adapted, prey and predators. 
  • Students will turn and talk about the following question: Do you think a polar bear’s sharp senses protect it from predators or help it get prey? I will read about the polar bear’s senses and teeth and use their discussion responses to create an anchor chart of the graphic organizer they will use for their independent task.

Polar Bears’ Senses

A polar bear’s eyesight and sense of smell must be strong. Reportedly, a polar bear can smell a seal up to 20 miles away! Their teeth are different from other bears because their diet is different. For example, brown bears mostly eat vegetation, while polar bears mostly eat other animals – primarily the ringed seal. Watching a polar bear “hunt” a seal is a lot like watching someone go ice fishing. Except there’s no warm hut and hot cocoa. Ringed seals spend a lot of time in the water, under the ice. They’re hunting for their own food. But, they have to come up for air a lot. So, they’ll have a bunch of breathing holes scattered around the ice, so that they can pop up for a bit of fresh air before returning to the hunt. These breathing holes are a polar bear’s natural fishing – well in this case sealing – spot.

AdaptationsHow it Helps Polar Bears Survive
-Sharp Senses
(Eyesight & Sense of Smell)

The article says, “a bear can smell a seal up to 20 miles away.” I know it is important for a polar bear to
have a good sense of smell because it will help them catch their prey. 
Without food, they will not be able to live.

-Sharp Teeth

Polar bears need sharp teeth
because they are carnivores. Their sharp teeth help them tear apart
meat. 
  • Turn and talk with a partner to discuss why sharp senses are important and what might happen if polar bears did not have sharp senses. [chart answers]
  • What evidence from the text supports your ideas?

Independent/Partner/Group Activity:

Your child can read an article a day for three days, name 2 physical adaptations with visual support, and tell how each one helps polar bears to survive. Or you can split up your group of learners and give them one article each. Then, each group can share out so that all learners will get the information.

Assessment:

Students will complete self-checklist.

The complete printable lesson with graphic organizers and pictures is available in the free Member Resource Library. If you are not yet a member, subscribe below for access. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] 


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