Join Alaska Wild Educator Network’s latest project: Paws Up for Polar Bears! This comprehensive program will pull together information for you and your students to learn about polar bears, their habitat and how they are being impacted by a changing environment. It will also provide free resources to enable your students to get up close with the bears, the scientists who are studying them, as well as other professionals who are working to protect them. And finally, we’ll send around activities you and your students can take to help protect polar bears. So raise your “paws” and get in the game! Here’s how:

Step 1: Register for the Alaska Wild Educator Network. This free resource provides opportunities for you and your students to learn about the animals, ecosystems and people that call Alaska home. The latest Paws Up offers and activities will be sent via email to Educator Network members every two weeks, so sign up today so you won’t miss out.

Step 2: Create an iceberg home in your classroom for your polar bear. This could be a paper cut out on a wall or floor, or a designated space or object. Then, as your students complete different activities and learning opportunities, you will place a polar bear paw and start creating a path for the polar bear to get home to the ice.

Step 3Get your paws ready! Feel free to use this example template or make your own!

Step 4Have fun between now and the end of the semester learning about and helping to protect polar bears. Every other Tuesday I will be sending out an email jam packed with information, activities and resources for your students to earn paws. They’ll love tracking their progress and knowledge growth as they earn paws and get closer and closer to the ice.

Step 5Share and win! Send us a photo of your polar bear tracks at the end of the activity and let us know how your students enjoyed it. Four classrooms will be randomly selected from all photos to receive a polar bear gift pack for their class.

Here are just a few activities to get you started! If you are not already a member of the Alaska Wild Educator Network, sign up today for free so you can get the latest activities and offers for Paws Up. Then, keep an eye out on Tuesday, November 8th for our next Paws Up email. In it you’ll have the opportunity to connect your students with scientists on the ground in Churchill Canada studying the bears right now!

  • Create a fact wall! Ask your students what they currently know about polar bears and then ask them to research two new facts they didn’t already know, then and add them around your iceberg. Here are a couple pages with lots of helpful facts: Nat Geo Kids and Alaska Wilderness League.
  • Get in the spirit of dressing up and turn your classroom into a wild pack of polar bears! Here’s a simple cut out mask to help your students get excited about polar bears by becoming one.
  • Have your students compare their hand size to that of a polar bear paw. The large paws of a polar bear act as snowshoes when they are on top of the ice, and paddles when they’re swimming through the water. Have your students trace their hand on a piece of paper and measure how wide it is. A polar bears paw is approximately 12 inches wide. Have them draw this measurement on the paper over their hand to see how much larger it is.

Teachers and students will have fun over the coming weeks learning about polar bears and what we can do to help protect them! Paws Up!