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Monday Morning Ready02.16.2018
Jumpstart Your Week!

Churchill, Manitoba, a sparsely populated town at the mercy of the Northern winds off Canada’s Hudson Bay, might be just another dot on the map if not for its seasonal inhabitants of the four-legged variety. But like clockwork every fall, hundreds of polar bears trundle through town on their way to the freezing bay, where they will hunt for seals after the ice packs enough to support their weight.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Would you want to live in a town that was visited by hundreds of polar bear each year? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

According to the article, polar bear tours have helped the town of Churchill, Manitoba survive. In what way, if any, do you think the bears have benefitted from this exposure?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, some 10,000 tourists go to Churchill, Manitoba each fall to see the polar bears. People are not a natural part of a polar bear's environment. How do you think the presence of so many people has affected the way these polar bears live?

Grade 9-10

Knowing that the polar bears' future is questionable, do you think many people who see polar bears in person will be inspired to find ways to help the bears survive? Or do you think most people will simply be happy to see the bears "before it's too late?" Why?

LESSON PLAN
Raise Awareness of Polar Bears

PROCESS:

  1. Invite students to share what they know about polar bears. What are they like? Where do they live? What do they eat? How do they grow? Cover as many topics as possible.
  2. Remind students that many people-including polar bear and environmental experts-are concerned about the future of polar bears. They fear that polar bears will become extinct in the not-so-distant future. Discuss why. 
  3. Inform the class that many people are working hard to keep this from happening. And one key part of their mission is education. But educating millions of people and completing the research necessary to learn more about the problem takes money. 
  4. Instruct students to create a product that will raise funds to save polar bears.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their products with the class. Challenge them to explain why they think the type of product they chose would be the best way to raise funds to save polar bears. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, brainstorm a list of products that could be sold to raise funds for a "Save the Polar Bear" campaign. Divide the class into small groups. Instruct groups to select the type of product they think will sell best. Then give them time to create a design. 
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Have groups brainstorm a list of products that could be sold to raise funds for a "Save the Polar Bear" campaign. Instruct each group to then select the type of product it thinks will sell best. Give groups time to design a new product of this type. Then have each group create an advertisement to sell its new product. 
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Have groups brainstorm a list of products that could be sold to raise funds for a "Save the Polar Bear" campaign. Instruct each group to then select the type of product it thinks will sell best. Give groups time to design a new product of this type. Then have them come up with a slogan and create an advertising campaign that incorporates that slogan. Challenge them to determine how they will distribute their product to supporters. 
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Have partners conduct research to learn about different products that are used to raise funds for causes such saving the polar bears. Instruct students to select the product that sells the best and create a design for a new product of that type. Challenge them to identify manufacturing costs, sales price and their intended distribution plan. Then have partners write a slogan and incorporate that slogan into an advertising campaign targeting their most likely customers. 
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Polar Bear Town
Visit this site to explore episodes of the Smithsonian Channel’s series “Polar Bear Town.” The site features short videos, biographies and a map of Churchill, Manitoba. It also includes a playlist of related videos that can teach you everything you need to know about bears.

From Impact to Action: Wildlife Experts Share Data, Stories, and Responses from Young People
Invite students to view this webinar in which audience members and a panel of experts from the National Zoo discuss climate change, wildlife and what young people are doing to make a difference. The discussion, presented by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, zeroes in on the specific impact of global warming on Arctic polar bears.

Save an Endangered Species
Use this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum to have students create a conservation advertisement aimed at saving an endangered species.

Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely
Use the lessons in this National Museum of Natural History site to help students examine changes in the Arctic’s climate—which have been observed by both polar scientists and polar residents—and explore how those changes impact the Arctic’s wildlife and its peoples.

These Researchers Put a Camera on a Polar Bear
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a polar bear? Watch the video in this Smithsonian article to find out.

Climate Change at the Poles
Read this article from the National Museum of Natural History to learn about the impact rapid climate change is having on polar bears in the Arctic.

The Politics of Viewing Polar Bears
Tourists flock to a coastal Alaskan town to photograph the vulnerable icons. Read this Smithsonian article to learn why that is raising some hairy ethical questions.
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