Two years ago, science teachers Bev Malone and Jane Imai visited Birches with a black bear skeleton to teach the kindergarten and first grade students about the similarities between human and bear skeletons during our Human Body unit. Today, Jane returned with the bear skeleton to culminate the K/1s’ bear unit! The students once again compared the bones to a human skeleton and figured out how to assemble each section of the bear from the scull and jaw to its ribcage and leg bones. Next, Jane showed a slideshow of Bev’s discovery of the bear, found while on a fishing trip on a remote lake decades ago. We learned that the bear was found on tribal land and Bev had to get special permission to take the skeleton back to her science class. We also learned that this was why she was only allowed to take a few of the claws—the rest she left behind since they were sacred to the tribe. The students loved seeing the claws in person and also liked seeing the different teeth a bear has—both flat teeth for eating plants and berries, but also sharp front teeth for biting and tearing meat, very important for an omnivore!
It was an incredible hands-on experience for the students to see and touch a “real” bear in person and learn about the similarities and differences between humans and bears. This is the K/1s’ final week studying bears before we blast off to space next week!