Life of Bears

Time: 2 Hours (Can Be Shortened) 

Grades: 3-12

This fun program focuses on the three bears species that you can find in North America – the American black bear, the brown bear, and the polar bear. Your students will learn all about these amazing animals, the habitats they live in, their food webs, and their adaptations for survival. We will look at pelts, skulls, and claws for all three of these species! 

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Life of Bears:

Like most of our on-grounds programs, the Life of Bears program includes an engaging educational lesson, hands-on animal biofact interaction, a fun activity, a specially themed scavenger hunt, and time for open exploration of the museum. Read below to learn more about each of these; remember, your program can be shortened to fit any time constraints.

Educational Lesson: 60 Minutes

Your Life of Bears program will start by taking a very brief look at the eight species of bear found across the world. Then, we will take a deeper look at the three species of bear that can be found within the United States; two of which can be seen right here in Wyoming! 

For each of the bear species we will learn about the habitat(s) that you can find those bears within. We’ll discuss which bears are more generalist and which bears are specialized for one habitat type. We’ll also look at the food webs for each type of bear. These three species have very different diets, and we’ll cover all of them! We’ll also discuss the amazing adaptations that each of these species has to live in their unique habitat(s) and find their unique food. 

Similar to the “Life of Wolves” program, this program also has an optional 15-minute section at the end. This conservation message is geared towards older school groups. We’ll discuss the current status of all three bears (from not-listed, to threatened, to endangered), what happened to them historically, the threats they are facing now, and how humans are helping. You can choose to have this part of the program included, if you would like. 

Click the link below to request a free program and learn all about bears!

Activity: 20 Minutes

The activity for the Life of Bears program is our scent game. Bears have one of the best sense of smells in the animal kingdom; they rely heavily on it. Each of your students will be given a small vial with a mystery scent within it. Their goal is to find the one other student who has the same scent as they do. Your students will walk around, smelling the vials of their classmates, until they find their scent partner. This is a very fun game that students love to play! It also reinforces the importance of the sense of smell for bears!

Scavenger Hunt: 20 Minutes

The Life of Bears scavenger hunt will bring your students through the museum, looking for certain items that pertain to what they learned about in their lesson. This will include the use of bears in artifacts, artwork, and different biological specimens! The scavenger hunts are completed in small groups or pairs.

Open Museum Exploration: 20 Minutes

While the scavenger hunt allows your students to see a curated selection of items within the museum, the open museum exploration time allows your students to explore whatever they are interested in. The Wyoming State Museum has so many topics (from dinosaurs to mining to pioneers to warfare to animals to Native American culture to national parks and more), that we find it is a great idea to give students free time at the end of the program to explore.

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