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The Grizzly Bear Project

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We took a close look at a ROARsome North American predator: The Grizzly Bear Project

One of the more flexible assignments in our Build Your Library Language Arts curriculum is an animal study for each continent. Our first continent was North America, and my oldest chose the Grizzly Bear as his favorite creature.

Great choice, son. Grizzlies are common enough that I could find great materials but new enough (to us) that they were interesting to learn about.

I’m so proud of my kid. We did so much fabulous fine motor cut and paste practice with this unit that he can even cut his own hair now.

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Grizzly Resources

Books

Grizzly Bears by Gail Gibbons
We love Gail Gibbons’ books. There seems to be one for every subject, and they’re beautifully illustrated and full of interesting facts.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen
A classic story that can inspire music and movement activities as well as some of the adorable crafts we did at the museum (below).

Eat Like a Bear by April Pulley Sayre and Steve Jenkins
This picture book was more like a story book and chock-full of bear facts.

Grizzly Bears (Predators) by Barbara Taylor
The oldest enjoyed seeing real pictures of these amazing animals. This book has all the facts, and wasn’t too scary – even though it has an intimidating title and cover.

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Streaming

Grizzly Bear YouTube Playlist: Roughly 20 minutes of Grizzly Bear amazingness that will not scare your kindergartner.

If you’re interested in other Streaming Resources for a North America Unit check out my playlists, Netflix, and Prime recommendations HERE.

Lapbook

I am thrilled that my oldest enjoyed making his first lapbook. He liked having a single, long-term project that brought everything together. We worked on it little-by-little over two weeks, revisiting books and video resources as we went.

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If you’re not familiar, a lapbook is visual report made out of a shutter-folded file folder containing several inserts. Awesome stuff about lapbooks:
√ Meaningful fine motor practice with cutting, gluing, and folding inserts
√ Handwriting practice in short, managable spurts
√ Practice recalling facts from various sources
√ Explaining and organizing facts and illustrating details
√ Synthesizing information to create a complete project

We used a few foldables from each of these two free printable resources:
All About Grizzly Bears Lapbook from Creative Learning Fun
Free Bear Lapbook from Homeschool Share

*While I love all the Pinterest Perfect lapbook samples by other bloggers, I’m not sure how many kinderkids are actually cutting and pasting so nicely. Could some of these be parent reports?!? NO! Ours might be a bit jenky looking, but it was made by five-year-old fingers from start to finish. Real glue, no sticks or stickers.

Field Trips

20160829_111832_resizedWe don’t have grizzly bears in Florida, but we do have black bears. We checked out black bear tracks at our local nature center and took a walk in the cypress forest.

Not a full-fledged field trip, however we also had a lot of fun playing at the parks throughout the week. We ran on all fours and reared up on our hind legs, attempted to climb a tree, and growled and roared as loud as we could. Of course, we also had to practice rolling up into a ball to protect ourselves against grizzlies – so they know we aren’t aggressive. Gross motor practice at its best.

20160830_104657_resizedOver at the children’s museum he had fun role-playing in “Alaska” (the museum’s Four Seasons, Winter exhibit). He told me that there were no bears around, though, because they would be hibernating.

Crafts & Activities

The culminating project was visiting our local children’s museum for their “Going on a Bear Hunt” crafts and activities.

I’m sure you could put these together at home if you are creatively inclined – or if your kids will commit to playing with something for more than five minutes. The Art Room at the museum is a total sanity saver for me. 

Chocolate Playdoh with Bear Shapes – with patterned rollers, bear shaped cookie cutters. Here’s a recipe for no-cook chocolate dough from a mama who is more Pinterest friendly than me.

Bear Hunt Sensory Bin – He liked reenacting the “Going on a Bear Hunt” poem in this bin. This one was filled with those plastic faux wood chips for dirt (I mean, you could really just use wood chips or dirt), shredded green paper for the tall wavy grass, a plastic blue puddle, cotton batting for the snowstorm, and plastic trees and bears.

Bear Hunt Map – Our favorite. He worked so hard on this little map of the forest. Drawing little dashes with brown marker, grass cut from green paper, a blue river, brown paint mud, popsicle stick and paper forest, white paint snowstorm, and a brown construction paper cave with a bear. Then I promptly left it at the museum. Gah! So we had to recreate it at home.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now. No tears, though. Every time I leave something at the museum it gets a little easier.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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Next up is our South America Unit Study. I’m pretty sure he’s going to pick Guinea Pigs for his animal report. He was super excited to find out they run wild in the Andes. He probably won’t be as excited when he finds out that down there they’re a delicacy. Peruvian dinner night! I’m so psyched.

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