Hibernation Lesson Plan: Inquiry Science and Blubber Experiment

Submitted by: Crystal Radke

Grade Levels: K-3

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-3, students use science as inquiry in conjunction with BrainPOP Jr. resources to develop their understanding of scientific concepts and processes. Students will explore which animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt, and conduct an experiment to understand how blubber helps some animals hibernate.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Use science as inquiry in order to develop and enrich their abilities to understand scientific concepts and processes.
  2. Use listening skills to gain new information about animal hibernation.
  3. Be able to identify which animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt.

Materials:

  • Access to BrainPOP Jr.
  • Blubber experiment: Bucket, ice, 2 ziplock bags, Crisco
  • Book: Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
  • Book: Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows
  • Chart tablet
  • Markers
  • Class set of the experiment sheet

Vocabulary:

hibernation, winter, animals; temperature; fat; store

Preparation:

Fill bucket with ice. Put Crisco between ziplock bags. Fill out chart tablet ahead of time (Question, Hypothesis, Results). Make chart to record data. Have class set of the experiment sheet ready.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Read the book Time to Sleep.
  2. Use the Word Wall to help students build background knowledge about key vocabulary terms.
  3. Watch: BrainPOP Jr.'s Hibernation movie and discuss.
  4. Tell students they will be conducting an experiment to see if blubber keeps their hand warm when it is in ice. Review the scientific method and record the question (Do you think your hand will feel cold in the blubber?)
  5. Have students form a class hypothesis (We think the blubber will/will not keep our hand warm inside the ice.) and record it on the chart. Alternatively, you could have students vote or create a bar graph showing their votes, and record the hypothesis most students agree with on the chart.
  6. Conduct the experiment. Have students (one at a time) put one hand in blubber bag and the other in a plain ziplock bag in the ice bucket. Compare how each hand feels and if the blubber kept them warm. Record results on individual worksheet or on a class chart.
  7. After the entire class has completed the experiment, talk about and examine the class data to find out if students' hypothesis was correct.
  8. Read the book Hibernation Station and talk about the adaptations that enable the animals to hibernate.
  9. Make a chart about what was learned about hibernation and record student responses.

Extension Activity:

I have an experiement worksheet that I created for this lesson. You can see photos and more details of my lesson on my blog, Kreative in Kinder.