The American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America, and are found only in North America.
Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability.
Black bear fur is usually a uniform color except for a brown muzzle and light markings that sometimes appear on their chests.
Eastern populations are usually black in color while western populations often show brown, cinnamon, and blond coloration in addition to black.
Black bears with white-bluish fur are known as Kermode (glacier) bears and these unique color phases are only found in coastal British Columbia, Canada.
The Snowy Owl, also known as the Arctic Owl or White Owl, nests on Arctic tundra habitats throughout its northern circumpolar breeding range—often adjacent to coastal Arctic seas.
This is one of the largest owls in the world, and has the most northerly breeding and wintering distribution of any owl species.
Plumage is unmistakable in this species. Adult males are almost pure white, and adult females are white with brown barring.
As part of our snowy owl component, we created both these creatures and their nests.
The materials used by your little ones include feathers, clay, googly eyes, and sticks!
In addition to learning about the snowy owl, students accessed several areas of development, including lateralization, sensory registration and divergent thinking.
During our week of royalty, we learned about princes and princesses.
Several students were particularly interested in learning about Queen Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen.
To build upon this interest, we created ice castles out of ice cubes and blue glitter.
Students selected their favorite princess and built their perfect ice home!
In our class, we provide environments that encourage and enhance problem solving.
It is for this reason that we often incorporate block play into our curriculum.
Block play encourages a child to test spatial relationships and mentally rotate objects in the mind’s eye.
Such practice might lead kids to develop superior spatial abilities.
Within our week of the polar bear, we constructed a variety of polar bear habitats using a variety of materials.
For this activity, we constructed habitats out of white blocks. Using their thinking minds, students created a variety of structures with their friends!
Different creatures survive in different types of habitats.
On this day your little one learned that habitats are environments that a particular plant or animal is perfectly suited for.
To learn some more about polar bears, we used this particular Tuesday morning to talk about the snow that surrounds them!
We then used insta-snow to create the perfect environment for our bears!
Children learn through experiences, and the earlier they are exposed to STEM-based hands-on learning experiences, the better.
Engineering activities, by their nature, are an inquiry-based pedagogical strategy that promotes learning across disciplines. Engineering curricula introduces students of all ages to everyday applications of science, mathematics, technology and engineering that match their values and view of the world.
This, and many of our other activities are designed to engage students in hands-on STEM experiences in order to improve their understanding of fundamental concepts in a way that capitalizes upon their design, visualization, creativity and teamwork skills and yearnings.
For this STEM activity, students created white structures out of cups. These structures symbolized glaciers and other snow-topped bodies of land that surround polar bears. Using their hands, they stacked the cups in various formations and then stuck their bears into the middle. It was so much fun seeing what everyone came up with!
A sensory activity is anything that involves the 5 senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight) and also the vestibular or proprioception systems.
Sensory activities for children can be messy, engaging, fun, and easy to put together.
As part of our polar bear theme, your little one engaged in a variety of sensory activities throughout the week.
For this one, students combined different ingredients to make polar bear “snow.” Using shaving cream, glitter, and flour, students both mixed and played with their new “snow”.
A polar bear’s fur is made up of two layers – an outer layer, with long ‘guard’ hairs, and a thick undercoat, with shorter hair. The outer layer of hair is clear – and a polar bear’s skin is black. Polar bears evolved to have black skin, as the color is the best for absorbing energy from the sun.
This is because objects that appear black don’t reflect any light – and as polar bears are found in countries around the Arctic Circle – Canada, Russia, Alaska in the US, Greenland and Norway – the colder conditions require as much sunlight as possible to be absorbed when it’s available.
The clear fur allows this sunlight to get to the skin – but it still looks white, so that the bear can blend in with its environment of ice and snow. To learn about this phenomena, we conducted a science experiment with black play dough, straws, and flashlights. Using their fingers, students manipulated black play dough with straws. They then shined their flashlights directly onto the straws. Doing so enabled them to see that even though the play dough was black, the light against it made it look white!
Walruses have long tusks and a prominent mustache. These large marine mammals are found near the Arctic Circle.
They are extremely social and snort and bellow loudly at their companions. Walruses also have wrinkled brown and pink skin, long, coarse whiskers, flat flippers, and lots of blubber on their bodies to keep them warm in the cold Arctic water.
They can slow down their heartbeat to withstand the chilly water temperatures and to help them stay under water for as long as ten minutes.
To help us learn more about their whiskers, we created our very own. With tweezers, toothpicks, and pre-cut walrus snouts, we placed our whiskers into their places, practicing our fine motor skills!