The Bear Trust Telemetry Program is a hands-on, outdoor, black bear telemetry education program for K-3 students. Dissemination of this special lesson plan requires a Bear Trust staff and radio telemetry equipment. To learn more about lesson dissemination, please contact melissa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s how the 1-day lesson is structured:
Introduction: Interactive 30-minute introduction about the eight different bear species, including a fun slide show with photos of all 8 bear species and interesting facts. For example, the spectacled bear is the only bear species that lives in South America and this species can climb cliffs just like wild sheep. India has four species of bears: sloth bear, brown bear, Asiatic black bear, and sun bear. Baloo in The Jungle Book was a sloth bear and sun bears are the smallest of the 8 bear species. At the end of the introduction, K-3 students learn about science and research. What IS science? How can we use it to help conserve wild bears? Who wants to be a bear scientist today?
Field Research: K-3 students spend the rest of the day outside as they work to answer the research question: “what do wild bears need to survive?”. Unbeknownst to the students, a Bear Trust staff member has already hidden stuffed black bears outside in areas next to resources needed by bears. For example, some bears are hidden near berry bushes, some bears are hidden near water, some bears are hidden in trees, etc. Each stuffed bear is equipped with a transmitter which can be detected using a radio telemetry receiver. As a class, students learn about different field techniques to do research on wild bears, including radio telemetry. Students learn how telemetry works and then they collaboratively practice using telemetry to locate a life size telemetry collar that was used on a real wild research bear. Then, each student gets a one-on-one telemetry lesson from Bear Trust staff and each student uses telemetry to locate a stuffed bear that has a transmitter attached to it. After a student locates a bear, the student marks the bear’s location on a satellite imagery map. Each student also writes down the resources that the bear was near (water? berry bushes? trees? ant hills?).
Class Collaboration: After all students have found their bears, each student marks where their bear was found on a classroom map and the class learns how to use the bear locations to create a home range. As a class, students combine information about the resources that their bears were near and, finally, answers the question, “What resources do bears need to survive?”. As part of a conclusion discussion, students learn about how to stay safe in bear habitat. Oh, and kids get to keep the wild (stuffed) bears that they located using telemetry!
During Spring, 2017 we’re bringing our Bear Trust Telemetry Program to 475 youth, both locally in Montana and also in the Great Lakes region.