The Topic:

Easier - A bear is a large, heavy and powerful animal with thick, shaggy fur and very short tail. Bears are omnivorous. They may eat plants, honey, insects, fish, and small animals. There are several kinds of bears, such as a brown bear, black bear, polar bear, and a grizzly bear.
Harder - They usually have heavy bodies supporting a large, hairy head. Their thick fur covers a loose skin covering. They have small eyes and poor eyesight. Small, rounded ears stick straight up, but a bear's hearing is only fair. Bears do have a keen sense of smell. They have short, powerful limbs with large feet. A bear's foot has five toes, and each toe ends with a long, heavy claw. The strong claws are used to dig up roots, turn over large boulders, and tear into rotting timber looking for ants, termites, and other food. Bears, like a human, walk putting their entire foot sole on the ground with each step, and their heel strikes down first. This walk is different that most other animals that walk and run on their toes. Combining this gait with their large feet and short legs sometimes makes a bear look slow and ungainly. However, bears are extremely agile and can move quickly, running at speeds well over 30 miles an hour.
Bears live alone; they never gather in groups except during the summer mating season when a pair may be together for a month. The solitary female gives birth to one to four cubs during the winter sleep period. Cubs grow rapidly but remain with their mother for one or two years. Bears often spend much of their winter sleeping, a state that some call hibernation. Other scientists maintain that bears do not truly hibernate because their body temperature does not drop greatly and some become active on mild days.
Zoologists usually recognize eight species of bears with several subspecies or varieties. The main types are brown bears, American black bears, Asiatic black bears, panda bears, polar bears, sun bears, sloth bears, and spectacled bears. Until recently, some zoologists maintained that pandas were part of the raccoon family or belonged to their own mammal family. However, genetic testing now indicates that pandas are indeed bears.
American Bear Association from Shute Wildlife Sanctuary, MN
This website a facility whose mission is to promote the welfare of the black bear and other natural resources through better understanding.
Related Websites:
2) Bear Conservation Around the World by C. Servheen from Zoogoer
3) Bear Trust International
4) Bears from Defenders of Wildlife
5) International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA)
6) North American Bear Center by G. Coulbourne & P. Pollard
Bear Den
This site provides facts and information about bears.
Related Websites:
2) All About Bears
3) Bear Den
4) Bear Den
5) Bears from San Diego Zoo
6) Shadow of the Bear
7) Whose Toes Are Those? from BillyBear4Kids
Bears by G. Coulbourne and P. Pollard
Find detailed descriptions of various bear species' appearances, habitats, diets, scientific names, and alternative common names by which bears are known. The site also explains myths surrounding bears, provides links to other sites, and gives lists of books and movies about bears.
Related Websites:
2) Bear Madness: All Things Bear from GORP
3) Bears of the World by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
Bear Printouts from Enchanted Learning
This site contains information, printouts, and quizzes on bears.
Related Website:
2) Bear Printout from Zoom School
After you have visited several of the websites, complete one or more of these activities.
Make A Polar Bear Hand Puppet. Print out the page and follow the directions found at Blinky the Polar Bear. For a different manipulative project, make and play "bear dominoes." Start with the directions found at Bear Domino Tiles from BillyBear4Kids.
Compare And Contrast Bears. Pick two different types or species of bears. Then analyze both to identify ways in which they are alike or similar and ways in which they are different. Present your findings in a multimedia presentation using a software such as PowerPoint or HyperStudio.
Test Your Knowledge About Bears. Take the (1) Bear Quiz from Bear Den, (2) True-False Bear Game (scroll down webpage), (3) Brown Bear Quiz from WWF, (4) Spectacled Bear Quiz from WWF, (5) Grizzly Bear Quiz from Eco Education BC, or the (6) Bear Quiz from Outdoor Life.
Draw A Bear. If you are a beginner, you might want to follow the instructions at Learn to Draw a Bear from BillyBear4Kids. You also may want to draw a bear using KidPix software program; follow the instructions at Draw a Bear!
Complete A Bear WebQuest. Follow or adapt the instructions found at one of the following webQuest sites:
1) Bear Facts (Grade 2) by M. Stremel
2) Bear WebQuest (Grade 1)
3) Bear WebQuest (Grade 1)
4) If I Was A Bear (Grade K) by M. Dean, L. Geyer, S. Steele, C. Winterhalter, & L. Reed
Prepare A Bear Safety Manual. Bears can be a natural hazard for people who intrude into their territory. What you know about bears and their behavior can increase your safety and theirs. Create a guide for people in bear territory. Some of the following websites may provide helpful background information and reference material. An alternative activity could be to create a 'Bear Safety' poster.
1) Bear Facts from Exploring the North
2) Bears in Your Backyard: What Do You Do Now? from Exploring the North
3) Bears, Humans, Ecology!
4) Bear Safety Tips from
5) Black Bears in New Jersey Involved in 4 Attacks by L. Hester D’Orio from NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife
6) Communicating with Bears: Grizzlies by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
7) Communicating With Bears: Black Bears by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
8) Communicating with Bears: Polar Bears by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
9) Frequently Asked Questions About UDAP Pepper Power Bear Spray
10)How Dangerous Are Black Bears? by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
11) Learning to Live with Black Bears from Maryland Department of Natural Resources
12) Living in Bear Country: Guidelines for Bear-Proofing Your Property
13) Safety in Bear Country, Bear Facts, and Bear Encounter Stories from U. S. Scouting Service Project
14) Survive an Attack by G.E. Smith from The Bear Den
15) What to Do if a Bear Attacks!
Note - The Following Articles Contain Graphic Descriptions of Bear Attacks:
16) Dangerous Bear News For The End Of The Millennium by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
17) How Dangerours are Black Bears? by G.E. Smith from Suite 101
Debate The Issue Of Bear Hunting. Should bear hunts be legal as they are now in several states? Narrow your debate to the real issues - - is it hunting in general or bear hunting? Are your opinions influenced by the geographical location or the bear species for your debate; grizzly hunting in Canada, brown bear in Alaska, or black bear in Michigan? Focus on the issue, decide your stand on the issues, identify the main factors supporting your decision, and prepare an oral argument that will convince others to agree with your view. Record your arguments in a 'public service announcement.' Here are a few related websites:
1) At War in the Woods from CNN
2) Bear Hunting Stirs Debate from
3) Debate On Merits Of Hunting from Daily Miner & News
4) Debates Over Bear Hunting from Garden State EnviroNet
5) Debate Over Black Bear Hunt Heats Up in New Jersey by B. Carnell
6) Letter to the Editor of Victoria Times Colonist
7) Ten Reasons Hunting Helps Grizzly Conservation from Bears in British Columbia
8) Truth About Black Bears by C. Augello from Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
An alternative 'bear debate' could be the issue of reintroduction of the endangered grizzly to some of its former territory. Visit the Grizzly Bear: A Debate website for brief guidelines.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Black Bears by A. Mathieson
This student project contains a few facts about bears.
More Websites
Bears in Alberta from Government of Alberta
Learn about black and grizzly bears and their place in the natural environment.
Intelligence of Bears by G.E. Smith from Suite101
Bears have a stereotyped image as big, clumsy and slow-moving, but they are considered by many wildlife biologists to be the most intelligent land animals of our continent.
Other Articles on Bears by G.E. Smith from Suite 101:
2) Art of Gluttony: Bears and their Vittles
3) Bear Hibernation
Polar Bear Cam from Toledo Zoo
Visit Marty, Crystal and Nan; new live pictures taken every few minutes.
Specific Species / Types of Bears
Black Bears and Polar Bears from Mammals of Ontario
Here you find a summary of these animal's lifestyle, habits, and identifying characteristics. The site includes separate sections on the black bear and the polar bear.
Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus): (1) Asian Black Bears from GeoZoo, (2) Asiatic Bear from
BillyBear4Kids, (3) Asiatic Black Bears from Bear Den, (4) Asiatic Black Bear from International Association for Bear Research and Management, (5) Asiatic Black Bears from Henson Robinson Zoo, (6) Asiatic Black Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (7) Asiatic Black Bear, Tibetan Black Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Moon Bear from BBC's Nature Wildfacts, (8) Bear Facts: Asiatic Black Bear from ZooGoer, (9) Species: Asiatic Black
Black Bear (Ursus americanus): (1) Adirondack Black Bears from SUNY College of Environmental
Science and Forestry, (2) American Black Bear, (3) American Black Bear from BBC's Nature Wildfacts, (4) American Black Bear from Kids' Planet, (5) American Black Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (6) Bear Facts: American Black Bear from ZooGoer, (7) Black Bear from British Columbia Adventure Network, (8) Black Bear from Canadian Museum of Nature, (9) Black Bear from Canadian Wildlife Service, (10) Black Bear from Yukon Mammal Series, (11) Black Bear (Ursus americanus) from Cyber Zoomobile, (12) Black Bear Ursus americanus from Western North Carolina Nature Center, (13) Black Bear Cubs from Bear Country USA, (14) Black Bears, (15) Black Bears from InfoNorth, (16) Black Bears from Micke Grove Zoo, (17) Black Bears in North America by M.R. Vaughan & M.R. Pelton, (18) Facts About Black Bears from Bears in British Columbia, (19) North American Black Bear from Bear Country USA, (20) Save the Black Bears by J.W. Reed, (21) Yellowstone Park Black Bears
Black Bear, Florida (Ursus americanus floridanus): (1) Florida Black Bear, (2) Florida Black Bear
from Kids' Planet, (3) Florida Black Bear from Lowry Park Zoo, (4) Florida Black Bear: A Threatened Species from Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, (5) Florida Black Bear Slide Show from Defenders of Wildlife, (6) Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus): A Threatened Species from Green Nature, (7) Florida Black Bear Denied Federal Protection from CNN, (8) Florida Black Bears from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Brown Bear (Ursus arctos): See also: Grizzly Bear (1) Alaska Coastal Bears: Pictures and
Information, (2) Bear Facts: Brown Bear from ZooGoer, (3) Brown Bear from International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), (4) Brown Bear from BillyBear4Kids, (5) Brown Bear from World Wide Fund for Nature, (6) Brown or Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) from GeoZoo (7) Brown Bears, a Creature Feature from National Geographic, (8) Brown Bear, Grizzly Bear from BBC's Nature Wildfacts, (9) Brown Bear Necessities from World Wide Fund for Nature, (10) Coastal Bears of Katmai National Park, (11) Species: Brown Bear
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilus): See also: Brown Bear (1) American Grizzly Bear by J.R.
Musgrove, (2) Eastern Slopes Grizzly Bear Project (ESGBP), (3) Facts about Grizzly Bears from Bears in British Columbia, (4) Grizzly Bear from Bear Country USA, (5) Grizzly Bear from British Columbia Adventure Network, (6) Grizzly Bear from Canadian Museum of Nature, (7) Grizzly Bear from Info North, (8) Grizzly Bear from Kids' Planet, (9) Grizzly Bear from Mammals of the San Antonio Zoo, (10) Grizzly Bear from National Park Service, (11) Grizzly Bear from National Parks Conservation Association, (12) Grizzly Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (13) Grizzly Bear Facts, (14) Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (15) Grizzlies of the Russian Far East by C. Russell & M. Enns, (16) Grizzlies in the Wild
Kermode Bear: See also: Black Bear (1) Ghost Bear from PBS's Nature, (2) Kermode Bear from
Terrace Regional Area Associations, (3) Kermode Bear by Stephanie D., (4) Kermode Bear Photos from Ron Thiele Photography, (5) Spirit Bear from Valhalla Wilderness Society, (6) Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, (7) White Kermode Bear from Sawmill Valley Public School
Kodiak Bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi): See also: Brown Bear and Grizzly Bear (1) All About
Kodiak Bears, (2) Kodiak Bear, (3) Kodiak Bear from Como Zoo, (4) Kodiak Bear from Oregon Zoo, Portland, (5) Kodiak Bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) from Indianapolis Zoological Society Inc., (6) Kodiak Bear Fact Sheet from Alaska Department of Fish and Game,
Panda, Giant (Ailuropoda melanoleuca): (1) Bamboo Bear from San Diego Zoo, (2) Bear Facts:
Giant Pandas from ZooGoer, (3) Giant Panda, (4) Giant Panda from BBC's Nature Wildfacts,(5) Giant Panda from The Bear Den, (6) Giant Panda by J. Lee, A. Sullivan, & E. Babcock, (7) Giant Panda from Sedgwick County Zoo, (7) Giant Panda, (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), (8) Giant Panda Conservation Today by D. Kleiman, ZooGoer, (9) Giant Pandas by C. Bergner, (10) Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo, (11) Giant Pandas: Bamboo Bears by D.G. Kleiman at ZooGooer, (12) Giant Pandas in the Wild from World Wide Fund for Nature, (13) Great Panda by N. Fitzgerald, (14) Panda Baby from PBS's Nature, (15) Panda's Info Center
Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus): (1) Bear Beginnings: New Life on the Ice from National Geographic,
(2) Bear Facts: Polar Bears from ZooGoer, (3) Churchill P. Bear from San Diego Zoo, (4) Communicating with Bears: Polar Bears by G.E. Smith at Suite 101, (5) Factoids: Polar Bears from Environmental News Network, (6) Great White Bear from PBS's Nature, (7) Polar Bear from BBC's Nature Wildfacts, (8) Polar Bear from Canadian Museum of Nature, (9) Polar Bear from Info North, (10) Polar Bear from National Park Service, (11) Polar Bear from SeaWorld Animal Bytes, (12) Polar Bear and the Walrus from the Teel family, (13) Polar Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (14) Polar Bear Central from World Wildlife Fund Canada, (15) Polar Bear: Species Under Threat from World Wide Fund for Nature, (16) Polar Bear from Kids' Planet, (17) Polar Bears from 123spot, (18) Polar Bears, a Creature Feature from National Geographic, (19) Polar Bears from Scott Polar Research Institute, (20) Polar Bears from SeaWorld, (21) Polar Bears from Smithsonian Institution, (22) Polar Bears from World Wide Fund for Nature, (23) Polar Bears International, (24) Polar Bears - Just the Facts from Greenpeace, (25) Polar Bears of Churchill with Ewan McGregor from PBS, (26) Polar World, (27) Ursus maritimus: Polar Bear from The Animal Diversity Web
Short-faced Bear, Giant (Arctodos simus): (1) Giant Short-faced Bear from BBC's Nature
Wildfacts, (2) North American Short-Faced Bear from Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, (3) Reconstructing the Life of an Extinct Bear by N. Rozell, Alaska Science Forum, (4) Short-Faced Bear from Canadian Museum of Nature,
Sloth Bear (Ursus ursinus): (1) Bear Facts: Sloth Bears from ZooGoer, (2) Sloth Bear from
International Association for Bear Research and Management, (3) Sloth Bear from BBC's Nature Wildfacts, (4) Sloth Bear from BillyBear4Kids, (5) Sloth Bear from GeoZoo, (6) Sloth Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (7) Sloth Bears from Bear Den, (8) Species: Sloth Bear
Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus): (1) Bear Facts: Spectacled Bear from ZooGoer, (2) Species:
Spectacled Bear, (3) Spectacled Bear from Bear Den, (4) Spectacled Bear from BillyBear4Kids, (5) Specacled Bear from GeoZoo, (6) Spectacled Bear from International Association for Bear Research and Management, (7) Spectacled Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (8) Spectacled Bear from The Wild Ones, (9) Spectacled Bear Bear from World Wide Fund for Nature, (10) Spectacled Bear, Andean Bear, Ucumari from BBC's Nature Wildfacts
Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus): (1) Bear Facts: Sun Bear from ZooGoer, (2) Maylayan Sun Bear
from Endangered In the Wild, (3) Malayan Sun Bear from Oakland Zoo, (4) Species: Malayan Sun, (5) Sun Bear from The Bear Den, (6) Sun Bear from International Association for Bear Research and Management, (7) Sun Bear from Sedgwick County Zoo, (8) Sun Bear, Malay Bear, Honey Bear, Dog Bear from BBC's Nature Wildfacts, (9) Sun Bears from Bear Den
Websites For Teachers
Bear Masks (Grades K-1) from Houghton Mifflin Company
In this activity children will learn to identify different types of bears and make masks of their favorite bears.
Another Bear Lesson from Eduplace:
2) Mother Bear and Cubs (Grades K-1)
Bears and Their Habitat (Grades K-1)
Students will learn a few characteristics about bears.
Black Bear Lesson by J. Reynolds
The purpose of this activity is to familiarize the students with the physical characteristics of the black bear.
Related Lesson Plan:
2) American Black Bear (Grade 4) by S. Myers from Learn NC
Classroom Activities & Lesson Plans from Dialogue for Kids Wild About Bears
Here you find a collection of lessons, activities, and online resources for learning more about bears.
Florida Black Bear Curriculum (Grades 3-8) from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
This is a comprehensive series of lessons on the natural history and conservation needs of Florida's black bear.
Polar Bears (Grade 1) by M. Wallace from A to Z TeacherStuff
Students will explain what keeps Polar Bears warm in the Arctic by experiencing a layer of blubber to protect them.
Related Lessons:
2) Bears (Grades 6-8) from DiscoverySchool
3) Born to be Wild (Grades 4-6) from PBS Nature
4) Polar Bear Experience (Grades 2-3) by S. Hendrix from Learn NC
5) Why Polar Bears Are White (Grades K-2) by A. Gaines from Education World
Take Your Pick of "Beary" Fun Activities (Grades K-2) by A. Gaines from Education World
Here are lots of ideas for an integrated unit on bears.
Teacher Planning Information for The Bears of Yellowstone Electronic Field Trip
b aboard the virtual bus, look through its "windows into wonderland", and experience the "Bears of Yellowstone."
Related Website:
2) Bears of Yellowstone Electronic Field Trip
dense, thick fur
teddy bear
black bear
habitat loss
Great Bear
polar bear
deep sleep state
coarse guard hair
grizzly bear
legal hunting
varied diet
stand erect
large head
heavy body
short, powerful limbs
short tail
small eyes
small rounded, erect ears
shuffling gait
acute sense of smell
shaggy coat
poor eyesight
fair hearing
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/02.