Thanks to our friends at Polar Bears International, I am in Churchill, Manitoba – the polar bear capital of the world – for Polar Bear Week. Starting tomorrow we will be making virtual connections with students, educators, classrooms, zoos and other organizations to share the experience of what it’s like on the tundra. With polar bears outside our tundra buggy, the scientists will share their expertise about bears, climate change and what it’s like to have a very interesting STEM career.
This is my third opportunity to spend time on the tundra and every year I learn so many new things. And every year the resources to learn about polar bears and the tundra get even better and more plentiful. As I was thinking about the things we want to share this week during our webcasts, the list quickly became somewhat overwhelming. So, I thought it might be helpful for students and educators planning to attend the webcasts this week to provide a starting point.
Here’s my list, A to Z, of websites, Discovery Education resources, and the like, to help you get started with your tundra journey.
A – Arctic Adaptations
B – Buggy One (or Tundra Buggy One)
The high-tech observation and broadcast station we roll along in during Polar Bear Week.
C – Churchill and Content Collection
This is a tough one because the obvious choice is Churchill – the polar bear capital of the world – where there are ~900 people and ~900 polar bears this time of the year. There is also this really great Content Collection on Discovery Education about Polar Bears.
D – Dens
Frozen Planet: Winter – As winter approaches the Arctic, a pregnant female polar bear digs a den to rest and prepare for the birth of her cubs during the cold winter months. The presentation captures the first moments of the tiny polar bear cubs’ lives with their mother in the den.
E – Explore.org
Check out the Tundra Buggy Cam and more for live footage of polar bears on the tundra.
Polar bears are certainly the stars of the show, but there are some other amazing animals you encounter on the tundra. The arctic fox is one. I caught a quick picture of one as I was coming out of the recreation center in downtown Churchill.
G – Global Warming and greenhouse gases
Do your research and learn what you can do to help.
H – Hibernate
This is one of the many fascinating things about polar bears. They don’t hibernate in the strict sense of the word. True hibernators experience a marked drop in heart rate and body temperature and generally stay for a long period in a den. Polar bears instead enter a state of walking hibernation where their metabolism slows. Only pregnant polar bears enter a den, give birth, and emerge three months later.
I – Ice
Sea ice is critical for polar bears. They need the ice to hunt. Learn about the four sea ice eco-regions.
J – Join the list
Click here to receive updates from the wonderful folks at Polar Bears International.
As your students learn about polar bears, let them create all sorts of projects to demonstrate their understanding. Like a polar bear board.
L – @lrougeux
Follow my posts with @discoveryed and @polarbears
M – My Planet, My Part
Take action to help save polar bears and improve the health of the planet.
N – Nations with polar bears
There are five nations with polar bears: U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway. Polar bears do not live in Antarctica. Penguins do.
O – On Social Media
P – Papillae
Polar bear feet are furred and covered with small bumps called papillae to keep them from slipping on ice.
Q – Q&A
R – Resources for Teachers
Use these PowerPoint presentations, mini-posters and more with your students. Created just for teachers.
S – Seals
Check out this video of a polar bear mother and her two cubs as they hunt for food.
T – Tundra Connections
You’re invited to join these exclusive webcasts to meet and talk with world-renowned scientists and educators—as arctic winds shake the buggies and polar bears prowl outside.
U - Ursus maritimus (sea bear)
Species: Ursus maritimus (sea bear)
V – Virtual Labs
Explore interactives that help you learn about sustainability topics.
W – We Can Change the World
The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is the premier national environmental sustainability competition for grades K-12 students. Through project-based learning, students learn about science and conservation while creating solutions that impact their planet
X – STEMx
Y – YouTube
Lots of great content to check out on Polar Bears International’s YouTube channel.
Z – Zzzzzz…
Polar bears nap just about anywhere and any time, and especially after feeding on a seal. Napping helps bears conserve energy. A polar bear’s entire existence centers on hunting and conserving energy. Click here to learn more.