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Learning About the Polar Bear's Blubber: Kindergarten Arctic Animals Lesson

written by: Willa • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/20/2012

In this lesson of the Arctic Animal series, the children will learn how the body of the polar bear is especially created to survive in the harsh winters of the Arctic region.

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    Circle Time:

    Discuss the Arctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia, with a review of the map. Show pictures of the polar bear and read the book, The Polar Bear's Gift, by Jeanne Bush and Vladyana Langer Krykorka. This story teaches the children to respect and share the land with other creatures.

    Explain how the bear has special layering of blubber, under the thick white fur, that keeps him warm. His white fur also camouflages him in the ice and snow. His paws are insulated with fur and his wide feet help him swim.

    Open a discussion on things that we wear to stay warm. Write each child's answer next to their name on the chalkboard. This will be used later for a math activity.

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    Activity: Blubber Glove

    This teacher assisted activity will help the children to understand how the layer of blubber keeps the polar bear warm. I got this idea from the (Editors of Publications International, Ltd). These are the items you will need:

    • Crisco, 1 cup
    • 2 large zip-lock bags
    • Bucket for ice and water

    Fill the bowl with ice and water. With one bag filled with the shortening, the child places his hand in the other zip-lock bag, used as a glove. He then slides it into the bag of "blubber". Seal the edges on each side as close to the child's hand as possible. Help the child to swish the shortening evenly around his hand, then dip it into the bucket of ice water. As the child tests the ice water with the other hand, ask to compare how it felt with and without the "blubber glove". Make a chart to record the student's observations, with and without the "blubber". Explain that the polar bear has up to 4 inches of blubber that insulates his body to keep him warm.

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    Math:

    Create a graph using the survey that was taken during circle time. This activity will teach the children how to compare amounts and the concept of more or less.

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    Suggested Reading:

    This lesson helps the children to build vocabulary, sharpen their listening skills and make observations. For more please read:

    • The Polar Bear's Gift, by Jeanne Bush, Vladyana Langer Krykorka
    • Little Polar Bear and the Husky Pup, by Hans de Beer
    • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle

Arctic Animals Unit, Part 1

This is a series of lesson for K-1st grade on various animals of the Arctic region. Each lesson focuses on how these animals are specially created to survive the harsh polar winters. Included are phonics, math and hands-on activities.
  1. An Arctic Animal Unit: Animals of the Polar Region
  2. Learning About the Polar Bear's Blubber: Kindergarten Arctic Animals Lesson
  3. Arctic Animals: The Walrus Lesson and Activities for Kindergarten
  4. Arctic Animals: Reindeer and Caribou Activities
  5. Arctic Animals: Puffins Activities


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