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Six Hibernation Lesson Plans for This Winter

The winter season is upon us, and despite the craze of the holiday season, everyone will start moving a little slower, especially some animals. For most mammals, including squirrels, bats, and bears, winter means one thing: hibernation.

Teaching hibernation in the classroom can be easy for educators with the right resources. Here are some lesson plan ideas that can help. 

BrainPOP: This site offers videos, book recommendations, lesson plans, and an entire page pertaining to Hibernation Background Information for Teachers and Families.

  1. Hibernation Video: With this video, students can learn how some animals survive the cold winter by fattening up and going inside to hibernate. This video also also teaches about animals that go into hibernation. 
  2. Inquiry Science and Blubber Experiment: With this lesson plan, student will explore which animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt and conduct a science experiment to see how animals can survive the winter with blubber. 
  3. Hibernation Classroom Activities for Kids: BrainPOP offers a list of activities teachers can bring to their classroom to educate their students about hibernation:
  • Pajama Day: Host a pajama day and ask students to imagine what it would be like to sleep through the winter. 
  • Hibernation Skit: Divide the class into groups and have one group imagine they are tree squirrels and the other imagine they are ground squirrels. Tell the students that tree squirrels stay awake during the winter, and the latter hibernate. Have the tree squirrel group write skits describing what winter is like for ground squirrels. The other group and write what hibernation is like for the ground squirrels. 
  • Math: Find statistics on different hibernating animals and create bar graphs, pictographs, and other charts. Which animals gain or lost weight? Which animal hibernates the longest? How does the animal's hibernating heartbeat compare to its normal heartbeat?
  1. Shh! Bear's Sleeping: Learning About Nonfiction and Fiction Using Read-Alouds: In this lesson plan provided by ReadWriteThink, students will use read Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky and learn not only about the animal's hibernation habits, but also about the distinction between fiction and nonfiction.
  2. Find the Hidden Hibernators: In this activity provided by Education World, students will learn about hibernation by finding 16 hibernators in this word search puzzle
  3. Get Read to Hibernate! Migrate!...Or Get Fat!: In this lesson plan provided by, students will learn about winter survival adaptations of animals through a video, Venn diagram, surveys, books, and more. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor