Teachers > Instructional Television > Lesson Plans > Get Ready, Get Set, Hibernate


Get Ready, Get Set, Hibernate

Master Teacher: Ollire Lane Dunn
Subject: Science, Mathematics
Grades : P
Series: Up Close and Natural Episode 10 - Winter at Squam Lake


Pre-viewing Activities

Focus for Viewing

Viewing Activities

Post-viewing Activities

Action Plan





Image of bear

What do butterflies and bats have in common? More than just their wings. This two- part lesson will acquaint students with the winter survival adaptations made by butterflies and bats and other winged or furry animals of North America. Through several activities, students will understand the concepts of hibernation and migration, as well as the preparation needed by these animals for maintaining their survival during the winter months. 


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • name two animals that are true hibernators 
  • name four animals that sleep only part of the winter 
  • name four animals that migrate 
  • identify four ways animals prepare themselves for winter 
  • list two facts about what happens to an animal while it hibernates 
  • list two facts about why animals migrate 
  • construct simple diagrams comparing and contrasting animals who hibernate, migrate and sleep part of the winter 



For teacher: 

  • a model prepared prior to post-viewing activity (Appendix A) 
  • "Creature Feature" poster (Appendix D) 
Part One For each student: 
  • 1 copy of the Venn diagram sheet (Appendix B) 
  • 1 copy of the Word Bank sheet (Appendix B) 
Part Two For each student pair: 
  • one shoe box with lid 
  • oak tag cut-out of animal chosen from Creature Feature Chart 
  • craft feathers (if pair selects a bird) 
  • 1 copy of Appendix C 
  • four cotton balls (if pair selects a non-migrating animal) 
Whole class access to: 
  • crayons 
  • markers 
  • colored pencils 
  • glue 
  • scissors 
  • masking tape


Previewing Activities

Your students may be familiar with the ideas of hibernation and migration, but lack information on other ways animals prepare themselves for winter survival. Actually, very few animals are truly hibernators, and many people think only of birds as migrators. Woodchucks and some bats truly hibernate, while fish, butterflies and bats join birds as migratory. The video segment of this lesson clearly differentiates hibernators from animals who sleep only part of the winter. It also explains the preparation process and specific adaptations animals have for winter survival. The video cites excellent examples of comparison and contrast through common, familiar animals such as bear, deer and the snowshoe hare. 

In order to assess what your students know about animal characteristics and methods of adaptation for winter survival, hand out the Venn diagram sheets entitled "How Well Do You Know Me?" and the accompanying Word Bank sheets. Prepare the same type of diagram and word bank on your chalkboard. 

Explain to the students that they need to match each body part or idea from the word bank with the large triangle that best represents how an animal uses it. All of the words will fit somewhere. The words (or phrases) may be used in one, two or all of the triangles. At this point, nothing should be written in the small triangle in the middle of the sheet. Do the first one with the whole class--food. As students work, walk around and record what you hear them say. Once the students have finished their diagrams, share what you've recorded. Review as a whole class the responses students wrote in each triangle. Have student volunteers record answers on the board diagram. Ask: "Did anyone try the Challenge Words?" (The Challenge Words appear in the video segment for tomorrow's assignment.) Define these Challenge Words briefly and add them the board diagram. 

Next ask: "Find the words that appear in all three of the triangles. What are they? How many are there?" Have students write those common words (or phrases) in the small triangle in the middle. Ask: "Is there one animal that has all of these characteristics? How do these terms fit into all three triangles? What would happen if an animal lost its fur? What would happen to a bear if it suddenly had wings?" Tell the students to keep the diagrams for tomorrow's video presentation. 

Weather permitting, take a nature walk on the grounds of your school before tomorrow's class. Collect items to be used in tomorrow's project such as: samples of bark, moss, maple tree "helicopters," leaves, seed pods. 


Focus for Viewing

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, use the Feature Analysis Chart (Appendix D). This needs to be located where all of the students can see it during the video. The pause points indicated in the "Viewing Activities" section will provide opportunities to fill in the chart during the video segments. Make sure the information on the chart is accurate, because it will serve as the basis of information for post-viewing discussion. Tell the students that the animals on the chart will be discussed during the video segment. Ask them to be listening for information that will identify which characteristics best fit the animals on the chart. For this level, suggest that students use the "thumbs up" sign if they hear or see information needed to complete the chart. In addition, have students place the Venn diagram they made yesterday on their desk as a reference tool. 

(Please note that the Feature Analysis Chart will be entitled "Creature Feature" chart for students.) As information is presented from students or the video, simply make a check mark on the chart in the box(es) that best represent the characteristics of each animal. 


Viewing Activities

Start video: After opening credits when Louise McNamara first begins talking. 

Pause: When Louise says "What about the animals? How do they stay warm?" Ask students to respond briefly to these questions. After students respond say: "Let's see what new information the video will provide us." Resume video. 

Pause: On the summer scene at Squam Lake Science Center as people walk up the ramp. Ask students to note the differences between the same scene just shown in winter. (the trees have leaves, people are dressed in much lighter clothing, the ramp isn't covered in snow) Resume video.

Pause: On the view of the bear munching on an apple and after Louise explains the difference between how bears and other animals prepare for winter. Ask: "What information can we fill in our chart about bears? How are they different from squirrels?" Fill in a check for "eats extra food to make fat" on the bear line and a check for "collects extra food for winter" on the squirrel line. Resume video. 

Pause: After Louise pronounces "carnivores." Ask for a prediction about its meaning. If students know, Resume play. If not, say "Let's find out." Then Resume video. 

Pause: After definition of "carnivores" is given, reinforce the definition by asking: "What two things do carnivores have?" Let students respond. Resume video. 

Pause: On view of den built by the Squam Lake bears and ask for this prediction "Why don't the bears at the science center have to hunt for their food like bears in the forest?" Students responses should mention that the science center bears are cared for by the employees at the center. Resume video. 

Pause: After the video states that a mother bear can be dangerous when she has her cubs with her. Ask students "Why would a mother bear be dangerous?" Students should respond that she needs to protect her young. Resume video. 

Pause: On view of bear walking away and Louise reappears. Say, "What information can we now add to our Creature Feature chart?" Students may begin discussing whether a bear hibernates or not. If this subject isn't brought up ask, "Has the video told us anything about whether a bear hibernates or not?" Response should be "no." Say, "This next segment will answer that question. Use the thumbs up sign when you think you know the answer." Resume video. 

Pause: On the view of "Burt" the bear walking around and after Louise has mentioned that bears do not hibernate. Ask, "Now what do you think? Do bears hibernate?" Response should be "no." For students' predictions ask,"How much do you think they sleep? Two weeks? Two months?" Let students give their ideas. Back to the chart say, "Now we can finish the information about bears. Where do we place a check--under "sleeps all winter" or "sleeps only part of the winter?" After check is placed, Resume video. Encourage students to "respond" with Louise in saying the names of the animals who sleep during the winter. 

Pause: On the view of the bat clinging to a cave after Louise mentions that only "woodchucks and some bats are true hibernators." Say, "Now we can add lots of information to our chart! What two animals are true hibernators?" (woodchucks and some bats) "Are you surprised by this? How many of you thought that squirrels and raccoons hibernated?" Fill in appropriate checks for squirrel and woodchuck. Resume video. 

Pause: When "hibernate" appears on the screen and Louise explains three facts about hibernation. Ask for general recall of the facts (temperature falls, heartbeat slows down, animal appears dead) rewind this section if the students didn't recall all three. 

Pause: After Louise says that squirrels and others wake up and eat during the winter. For comprehension of bear facts already presented ask, "Why don't the bears eat during winter?" If students don't recall refer to the chart. Once students correctly respond that bears live off stored fat, Resume video. 

Pause: After Louise explains migration. To check listening skills ask, "What are two reasons why animals migrate?" (seek food and warmth) "What animals besides birds migrate?" (butterflies, some fish, some bats) "Is there a migrating animal on our chart?" (butterfly) "Let's fill in some information about it." Check off appropriate boxes. Fast forward through the snowy owl segment. 

Pause: On the close-up view of Louise after the snowy owl segment. Say, "Now you know more about three ways animals survive the winter. Let's review them. Who remembers them?" Students need to review hibernating, migrating, sleeping only part of the winter. Ask for two facts about what happens to a hibernating animal's body (temperature drops, heartbeat slows down) and two reasons why animals migrate (seek food and warmth). In order to make a connection between other animals and humans ask, "How do people change in the winter? Do we do any of the same things as the animals in the video?" Let students respond. Answers may vary, but should include changes in clothing and activities. Resume video. 

Pause: On view of the snowshoe hare running off into the woods. For comprehension ask: "What is special about the fur of the snowshoe hare? (its fur changes color from brown to white) "How long does it take for the color change to occur?" (10 weeks) "Is the color change for survival, protection or both?" Refer back to the Creature Feature chart and fill in the appropriate boxes for the snowshoe hare. 

Fast forward (with no sound) to close up of deer tracks in the snow. 

Pause. Ask: "What are these?" If students don't know, tell them the correct answer. 

Pause: On view of the deer chewing on a branch, ask: "How does a deer's winter coat help it stay warm?" Students' responses should mention the thick hollow hairs, the softer underlayer and how warm air is trapped. Resume video. 

Pause: On view of Louise standing behind a deer looking down on it. Ask, "What do wild deer do if they eat up all of the food in their yard?" (they move on to another place) 

Fast forward to close up of Louise just after the opossum segment. Resume video on the line "You may want to help animals. . . " This concluding video segment is a review of the main objectives for this episode. 

Pause: As Louise "asks" students, "What do we call it when the (animals) move to another climate?" Have students respond with "migrate." Resume video.

Pause: As Louise "asks" students "Some animals survive by . . .(she puts her head down on her hands) Have students respond with "hibernate." Resume video. 

Pause: As Louise says, "others survive by growing a thick layer of. . ." Have students respond with "fur or feathers." Resume video. 

Pause: As Louise pats her stomach asking students to identify what bears do to survive the winter. Students respond, "Make a thick layer of fat." Resume video. 

Pause: As Louise asks for "the best way to help animals is not to destroy their..." Students respond with "homes" or "habitat." Listen for Louise's response. 

Stop tape.


Post-viewing Activities

Have students go back to the Venn diagram they made before watching the video segment. Ask: "How does your diagram information compare with the information from the video? Are there any corrections that you need to make to your diagram? Is there any information we need to finish the Feature Analysis Chart? 

Say: "Let's have some fun creating a WINTER CLOSET for an animal from the video. For this activity you need to choose a partner. Next you and your partner need to choose an animal from the Creature Feature Chart to create a WINTER CLOSET for." (Depending on your class size, limit animal signups for better representation of all animals.) 

Have students pair up and make their choices of animals. Record choices. Standing next to the Creature Feature Chart and holding up the prepared shoe box (see Appendix A), say; "If you and your partner were responsible for preparing an animal's closet for winter, what would you need to place inside?" 

Re-emphasize the fact that an animal's survival for the winter depends upon the accurate preparation and planning for food, shelter and body protection. Their "closets" need to be accurately "stocked" from the information on the Creature Feature Chart. Explain that although they can have fun putting sunglasses in the closet of a migrating bird, they wouldn't include a fur coat because that wouldn't prepare the animal's body for a warmer climate. Encourage them to check the chart, ask a classmate, or refer to their original Venn diagrams as resources. Point out where the materials are located in your room, and review any classroom rules you may have about using such materials. Ask for student volunteers to hand out one shoe box with lid to each pair and the appropriate oaktag animal cut out. This activity will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. 

As the students begin to gather materials for the closets, walk around the room with masking tape and "hinge" the shoe box lid to the shoe box. You will need to monitor their progress as they create their closets. As you walk around the room, point out interesting concepts and creative ideas to the rest of the class. Once the closets are complete, display them in your room and offer time for students to share them with the class. 

When students share their WINTER CLOSETS, they should answer these questions: 

  • Hibernating animal: two facts about what happens to an animal while it hibernates? 
  • Migrating animal: two facts about why animals migrate
  • Animal that sleeps part of the winter: what parts of this animal change in preparation for winter survival



Action Plan

Create a survey for students in another class, designed to find out what they do to help animals in their yard or neighborhood survive during the winter. For example: Do they have such things as bird feeders, suet bags, or peanut butter pine cone feeders? 

Write a letter to an animal activist group who works to protect natural habitats. 

Find out about homeless shelters in your community. Make a cassette tape of students reading pertinent holiday poetry, short stories or original writings. Offer the tape to the shelter as a "human" connection to the survival theme.



Language Arts:
Read Imogene's Antlers by David Small. This is a delightful picture book about a girl who wakes up one day with antlers! This can be used in connection with Reading Rainbow program #33 which highlights the book. Bring in a pair (or even one) of snowshoes--water or snow skis could work too. Have students try them on and then write an imaginary journey they took on them. 

Using an educational research source (ERIC, science textbooks, encyclopedia), find specific information about migrating animals in your state (such as butterflies, bats, fish and birds). Create a roadmap showing an actual route the animal takes and indicate on the map what month the migration takes place. 

Make a line dividing a piece of drawing paper in half. On one section, create an illustration showing an animal's summer home. On the other section, create an illustration of the animal's winter home. Have students share their drawings making comparisons and contrasts. 
Create a mobile with the word "hibernate" or "migrate." Using the written word on a piece of colored paper, have students make original drawings of animals that hibernate or migrate along with picture clues of the preparation steps for each. 

Social Studies:
As a basic challenge question for a whole class discussion, ask: "Do people migrate?" Next, divide students into groups of four and have them design a migration poster advertising for the ultimate winter school. The focus for the poster will be to attract students to an exciting place to study for the winter.



Additional Video Resources
NatureWorks - Episode 5. Migration

Internet Resources
Animals A-Z from the Oakland Zoo
Animal fact sheets from the Oakland Zoo.

Animal Bytes
This site from Sea World features animal fact sheets and includes sections on adaptations.

Animal Diversity Web
This site from the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology includes profiles of hundreds of animals.

This companion site to the series NatureWorks has profiles of over 200 North American animals.

Online field guides with profiles of over 5,000 plant and animal species.

Journey North
Track the migration of a number of different animals, including the monarch butterfly, with schools across the country at this site from Annenberg/CPB.

Monarch Watch
This Website from the University of Kansas looks at the migration of the monarch butterfly and has lots of resources for students and teachers.


NH Framework Correlations

Life Science Standards
"The life science curriculum in grades K-6 should emphasize a study of nature and biological phenomena (growth, reproduction, adaptation, behavior, and other topics). At all grade levels there should be an emphasis upon scientific modes of thought. Students should be expected to acquire skills in making careful observations, collecting and analyzing data, thinking logically and critically, and making quantitative and qualitative interpretations."

3a. Curriculum Standard: Students will demonstrate an increasing ability to recognize patterns and products of evolution, including genetic variation, specialization, adaptation, and natural selection. 

Proficiency Standards: End of Grade Six Students will be able to: Classify a variety of organisms based on their characteristics, and use this scheme as a tool to organize information about the diversity of life forms Relate the structure of body parts to function. 

3b. Curriculum Standard: Students will demonstrate an increasing ability to understand how environmental factors affect all living systems (i.e., individuals, community, biome, the biosphere) as well as species to species interactions. 

Proficiency Standards: End of Grade Six Students will be able to: Identify and describe the basic requirements for sustaining life, e.g., plants and animals need food for energy and growth.



Note: Worksheets are in Adobe PDF format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access them.