BRRRRR! It’s cold outside, which is the perfect time to learn about everyone’s favorite white bears. Polar Bears! Get your students excited and engaged with these polar bear activities.
BRRR! Polar Bears Activities For The Primary Grades
When winter hits, there is something about arctic animals that calls to us primary teachers! We want to read all the penguin, polar bear, and seal books we can get our hands on and teach students everything there is to know about these fascinating creatures through engaging and educational activities. My favorite has always been the polar bear!
How To Incorporate Polar Bear Activities
Using a themed unit is a great way to incorporate many subject areas while learning about a central topic. Whether you focus on the different seasons, a holiday, or in this case, polar bears, you want to ensure students are learning valuable information and not only creating cute crafts.
Your polar bear unit can integrate the following:
- STEAM / STEM activities
- Science experiments
- Different genres of read-alouds with non-fiction and fiction books
- Vocabulary games and activities
- Writing activities
- Research and informative writing
- Reading response questions
Finding ways to bring different subject areas into your polar bear unit will allow students to not only learn interesting polar bear facts but work on writing, reading, vocabulary, and more!
10 Polar Bear Activities For Students
Here are some simple polar bear activities you can add to your lesson plans. These will help you teach science skills, reading, writing, and more.
Activity #1: Arctic Animals Craft
Introducing arctic animals is a great way to start a polar bear unit. Teach students that the arctic is not just home to polar bears but to puffins, arctic foxes, arctic seals, and more.
Have students color, cut, and glue arctic animals in size order and create a fun polar animal craft. It also illustrates and compares a polar bear’s size to other animals.
Activity #2: KWL or Polar Bear Schema Chart
Polar bears are popular animals, but students may not know a lot about them. Before starting your unit, consider creating a KWL or schema chart. These charts allow students to show you what they already know and tell you what they would like to learn!
These charts can help you plan future lessons and activities. Use what students are “wondering” about or their “misconceptions” to determine which activities will most interest them and help answer their questions or help fix their misconceptions.
Activity #3: Polar Bear Vocabulary
We want students to use correct scientific vocabulary when learning, discussing, and writing. Vocabulary posters are a great way to teach students topic-specific terms. Laminate and display the vocabulary around your room, create vocabulary poster rings with laminated posters attached, or give students a copy.
After students are familiar with the words, students can practice matching the word and the definition to ensure they understand the meaning of each word.
Activity #4: Non-Fiction Readings and Questions
Reading about polar bears is a great way for students to learn about them. There are so many non-fiction books about polar bears; below, you’ll find a few of my favorites! These books are perfect for building students’ background knowledge on polar bears and make for fun read-alouds.
Polar Bear Non-Fiction Books
If you want to give students some practice with independent reading and answering questions. These short non-fiction passages and reading response worksheets are the perfect solutions. Students independently read about their appearance, habitat, behavior, and more!
After reading each short passage, students answer various questions to show what they learned and help them internalize the information.
Activity #5: Polar Bear Chart
As students complete different polar bear activities, they will learn a lot! Create a quick polar bear “summary” chart. Discuss with your class what polar bears are, what they can do, what they have, what they look like, and what they eat.
Students can add more to the chart as they learn about these amazing creatures making it an easy and interactive activity students will enjoy throughout the unit.
Activity #6: Polar Bear Life Storybook
In the primary grades, we want students to read whenever possible. Reading allows them to practice decoding, look at familiar spelling patterns, and sound out unfamiliar words. These books can be read in small groups, with partners, or taken home and read with families.
Grab this storybook for free below!
Grabbing a polar bear reader encourages kids to practice the above skills while learning more about this arctic animal. It also allows us to ask some reading comprehension questions.
Activity #7: Compare and Contrast
After students have read about polar bears, it is important to practice comprehension skills. An important skill in kindergarten, first, and second grade to learn is the ability to compare and contrast.
Venn diagrams are perfect for comparing and contrasting. Students can compare female and male polar bears, penguins and polar bears, or adult polar bears and cubs. They should use the information gathered from their non-fiction readings, vocabulary posters, mini books, and any non-fiction read-alouds they have done.
Activity #8: Parts of a Polar Bear
As you study polar bears, teach students the parts of a polar bear and create a labeled polar bear diagram together. This diagram should include things like paws, heads, noses, etc. Afterward, have students answer a question and write a sentence or two about each part of the polar bear.
Some questions they could answer are:
- How does the polar bear use that body part?
- Why is this part of the polar bear so important?
- What is one interesting fact about this body part?
Activity #9: Fishing Application
Get students writing and thinking about how polar bears fish with this writing activity. Students must determine what makes them good fishing partners for a polar bear and then write about it.
A great introduction to persuasive writing, students use the facts they are learning about polar bears to figure out what information they should include to help them get chosen as fishing partners. As shown above, add a cute polar bear to the top, and this activity will make a great bulletin board display.
Activity #10: Polar Bear Directed Drawing
Teach students how to draw a polar bear through directed drawing. Once they learn how to draw a polar bear, they will be able to add their own drawings to their writing and the other polar bear unit activities you complete.
Use a directed drawing and a writing prompt to get students thinking even deeper about the topic of polar bears!
Activity #11: Polar Bear Videos
You can also have students watch polar bear videos and look for facts and new information. There are a lot of amazing polar bear videos out there for students to watch.
Some polar bear videos are:
I also love the LIVE polar bear cam from the San Diego zoo. Students enjoy watching the polar bears eat, play, and sleep during the day. Click here to access it.
Resources to Help You Teach About Polar Bears
Free Polar Bear Storybook
Want to teach about polar bears in your classroom? Grab this free polar bear storybook and life cycle poster for your lessons. It’s perfect for small group reading, partner work, or to send home with students!
Click the image below to grab a copy.
Complete Polar Bears Unit
Looking for all your polar bear activities in one place? This planned-for-you Polar Bear Unit is an easy way to incorporate multiple subject areas into one exciting unit!
Students will not only learn a lot about polar bears, but they will have opportunities to read non-fiction books, create educational crafts, write, and have fun!
If you like this resource, you’ll love my other science and non-fiction reading units, including Winter and Penguins.
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