Polar Bears International

Tundra Connections Resources: A-Z

11/4/2013 8:48:26 PM

Tundra Connections Resources: A-Z

Thanks to our friends at Polar Bears International, I am in Churchill, Manitoba - the polar bear capital of the world - for Polar Bear Week. Starting tomorrow we will be making virtual connections, through Tundra Connections, with students, educators, classrooms, zoos and other organizations to share the experience of what it's like on the tundra. With polar bears outside our Tundra Buggy®, the scientists will share their expertise about bears, climate change and what it's like to have a very interesting STEM career.

This is my third opportunity to spend time on the tundra and every year I learn so many new things. And every year the resources to learn about polar bears and the tundra get even better and more plentiful. As I was thinking about the things we want to share this week during our webcasts, the list quickly became somewhat overwhelming. So, I thought it might be helpful for students and educators planning to attend the webcasts this week to provide a starting point.

Here's my list, A to Z, of websites, Discovery Education resources, and the like, to help you get started with your tundra journey.

A - Arctic Adaptations

Check out this great video from Alysa McCall about polar bear adaptations.

B - Buggy One (or Tundra Buggy One)

The high-tech observation and broadcast station we roll along in during Polar Bear Week.

C - Churchill and Content Collection

This is an easy one. Churchill - the polar bear capital of the world - where there are ~900 people and ~900 polar bears this time of the year. 

D - Dens

In November or December in snow caves called maternity dens. After feeding heavily in April or May, females that have mated dig a den in late October or early November. Most choose den sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or hills near the shore. Some dig their dens in snowdrifts on the sea ice.

E - Explore.org

Check out the Tundra Buggy Cam and more for live footage of polar bears on the tundra.

F - Fox

Polar bears are certainly the stars of the show, but there are some other amazing animals you encounter on the tundra. The arctic fox is one. I caught a quick picture of one as I was coming out of the recreation center in downtown Churchill. (See below)

G - Global Warming and greenhouse gases

Do your research and learn what you can do to help.

H - Hibernate

This is one of the many fascinating things about polar bears. They don't hibernate in the strict sense of the word. True hibernators experience a marked drop in heart rate and body temperature and generally stay for a long period in a den. Polar bears instead enter a state of walking hibernation where their metabolism slows. Only pregnant polar bears enter a den, give birth, and emerge three months later.

I - Ice

Sea ice is critical for polar bears. They need the ice to hunt. Learn about the four sea ice eco-regions.

J - Join the list

Click here to receive updates from the wonderful folks at Polar Bears International.

K - Kids' projects

As your students learn about polar bears, let them create all sorts of projects to demonstrate their understanding. Like this experiment to learn about blubber.

L - @lrougeux

Follow my posts with @discoveryed and @polarbears

M - My Planet, My Part

Take action to help save polar bears and improve the health of the planet.

N - Nations with polar bears

There are five nations with polar bears: U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway. Polar bears do not live in Antarctica. Penguins do.

O - On Social Media

Follow PBI on Facebook, on Google Plus, on Pinterest and on Instagram.

P - Papillae

Polar bear feet are furred and covered with small bumps called papillae to keep them from slipping on ice.

Q - Q&A

Hear from the experts.

R - Resources for Teachers

Use these PowerPoint presentations, mini-posters and more with your students. Created just for teachers.

S - Seals

Polar bears have evolved to feed on seals, specifically seal fat, the highest calorie food source possible. The bears prey on both ringed and bearded seals. Ringed seals, which are smaller, are the most accessible, especially to younger bears and females. Male polar bears also hunt bearded seals, which are larger. When hunting is good, polar bears eat only the blubber in order to build up the fat reserves they need to sustain themselves between meals. They leave the carcass for scavengers, such as arctic foxes, ravens, and younger bears.

T - Tundra Connections

You're invited to join these exclusive webcasts to meet and talk with world-renowned scientists and educators—as arctic winds shake the buggies and polar bears prowl outside.

U - Ursus maritimus (sea bear)

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Ursidae Genus: Ursus Species: Ursus maritimus (sea bear)

V - Virtual Labs

Explore interactives that help you learn about sustainability topics.

W - We Can Change the World

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is the premier national environmental sustainability competition for grades K-12 students. Through project-based learning, students learn about science and conservation while creating solutions that impact their planet


Learn about the STEMx mini-course for educators.

Y - YouTube

Lots of great content to check out on Polar Bears International's YouTube channel.

Z - Zzzzzz...

Polar bears nap just about anywhere and any time, and especially after feeding on a seal. Napping helps bears conserve energy. A polar bear's entire existence centers on hunting and conserving energy. Click here to learn more.

Lance will be moderating Tundra Connections--live webcasts--from Buggy One.
Can you spot the Arctic fox Lance saw in Churchill?
© Lance Rougeux

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