Bear Snores On-Learning about Hibernation

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Students will be able to describe the process of hibernation by ordering a sequence of events.

Big Idea

Hibernation is a fun concept for kindergarteners to explore, especially if Groundhog's Day is near. Helps students develop a basic understanding of hibernation.


10 minutes

To open this lesson, I read the story Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, available from Amazon.  In the story, Bear's cave is filled with animals, but he does not awaken from his hibernation.  Before reading the story, I ask the students some questions to help build their literacy skills.  The differentiation between fiction and non-fiction texts is an important skill for early learners to develop, as is the ability to make predictions about texts that are being read.  I like reinforcing these skills outside of our language arts instruction to allow students to see that reading happens all day long. 

Take a look at the cover of my book.  Do you think this book is a fiction or non-fiction book?  Why do you think that?  The title of this book is called, Bear Snores On?  What are people doing when they are snoring?  So, if this book is called, Bear Snores On, what do you think the bear is doing during this story?  Those sound like some great predictions.  Let's read the story and find out what happens.

I read the story to the students.  After we finish reading the story I ask the students, Why do you think the bear is sleeping so much?  Do you know what that is called when animals sleeps like that?  That's right...hibernation.  Today we are going to learn more about what hibernation is.  Let's move over to the Smartboard to learn about it!

Direct Instruction

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SmartBoard.  If you have a SmartBoard, the file Intro to Hibernation can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.  Click here to access them:  Intro to Hibernation PDF of Smartboard.

I gather my students in front of the Smartboard.  I have cards with each student's name printed on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.  This helps me spread response opportunities across my entire classroom and eliminates any unintentional bias.

I open the first slide (SmartBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques (Click here to learn more about SIOP). I read these objectives aloud for my students and then we continue with the lesson. 

Content Objective
I can tell a friend what hibernation is.

Language Objective
I can explain what happens when an animal hibernates.

Slide 2:  Hibernation is when an animal goes into a very deep sleep.  Instead of being awake and sleeping each day, the animal sleeps for many days without waking.

Slide 3:  Before some animals hibernate, they will eat a lot of food.  This food is stored as fat.  The fat provides energy for the animal.

Slide 4:  Other animals store a large amount of food where they are hibernating.  They will wake up occasionally to eat and will then go back to sleep.

Slide 5: When an animal hibernates, its body temperature gets lower.

Slide 6:  The heart rate slows and so does the animal's breathing.

Slide 7:  Most animals hibernate during the winter.  Why do you think animals hibernate during the winter?  (shortage of food) Hibernation is a way animals have adapted to their environment. 

Slide 8:  Some animals have their babies during hibernation.

Slide 9: It is now Turn and Talk Time.  Turn and Talk gives the students the opportunity to practice their academic language while building important conversational skills.

I ask them to hold hands with their assigned Turn and Talk partners and raise their hands in the air.  This allows me to check that everyone has a partner.    I then say to them, Explain to your partner what happens during the process of hibernation. I give them time to talk to their partner and when it is obvious that they have completed their discussion, I call on a student to share their response.  I restate what the student says and then ask the class to make any corrections or clarifications.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need the Hibernation Happenings activity sheet  included as a PDF with this lesson.  The students will need glue and scissors to complete the activity.

I distribute the sheet to the students and have them put their name on the top.  I then say to the students, Now it's time for you to show what you know about hibernation.  I want you to cut out the pictures of the polar bear going through hibernation.  Look carefully at the pictures and put them in order.  The first things that happens gets placed on the number 1, the next thing on the number 2 and so on.  When you are all done, raise your hand and I will come and check your work.  When your work is correct, you may glue it down. 

The students begin working and I circulate around the room to check on their work (See Video).  I ask guiding questions and clarify what the pictures show to assist the students as needed.  When their work is correct, I have them glue the pictures down. See Work Sample



5 minutes

To wrap up the lesson and reinforce student learning,  I partner the students and have them take turns describing for their partners what is happening during each step of hibernation.