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There are many books about bears and you will find a huge selection at the Cove Bear site. Gather the class together and share a book. Then tell them that they are going to be researchers in a black bear webquest.
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We are going to research black bears. Our task is to find out:
Where do black bears live? We will need to look at a map of the world.
What do black bears eat?
What is their habitat?
How do they care for their young? Are they good and caring parents?
Are they an endangered species? Why or why not?
What are the characteristics of the black bear? How big is it? What does it look like ?
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Divide the class into small groups, partners, or some children may wish to work independently. Provide writing materials, markers, crayons, paint and brushes, a variety of paper, books and nature magazines. Schedule computer time. Challenge each group to complete the task and be ready to present their findings using written reports, illustrations,oral performances (give some guidelines e.g begin your speech with "If I were a black bear the first thing I would do after my winter sleep would be ....)
Check out some innovative ways to present findings in Review Activities
When recording their results, the students should note the question they are researching, the resources used and their own interpretation of the material.
Suggested internet resources:
www.bear.org/website/ this website features several webcams.
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Each group will present their findings to the class.
Teacher evaluation - by observation of presentation and of the written work. Did the students follow directions? Did the students understand the task? Did the students use the resources wisely? Did the students detail their findings in creative ways?
Self evaluation - ask each student to report on how well they co-operated in the group. Do they feel that they did their very best work?
Peer evaluation - ask the audience what they liked about each of the presentations (it is always a good idea to keep this part of the evaluation positive)
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To complete the black bear webquest you might like to invite the students to make comparisons with the brown bears and polar bears in terms of environment, size, diet and habitat.
On a world map color in regions where Black Bears are found.
Make a class mural showing Black Bears. Decide as a class what the background should be - forest, places where the bears will spend the winter etc.Have a small group work on this and invite other children to draw, color, cut out pictures of adult black bears and cubs. Glue the bears on to the main picture.
Sing the song "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" Make up your own verses.