Lesson Plan

Climate Change and Canadian Polar Bears

During this lesson, students will analyze the impact that global warming is having on certain polar bear populations.
Rae Ann S.
Technology coordinator
Hempfield School District
Landisville, PA
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
EdTech Mentor

Students will use digital resources and discussion to analyze how global warming is impacting some polar bear populations.

Students will consider how they impact global warming and how it may affect them.

Students will explore resources for additional information then identify how to communicate what they have learned to others in the class.

English Language Arts
forming arguments
reading comprehension
using supporting evidence
writing clearly
Social Studies
Grades 5 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introduction

Students have been studying Canada.   To connect this lesson to what they have learned, students will be using two websites to learn about climate change and how it is impacting polar bears.  These activities are very student-centered, allowing the teacher to interact with small groups as they work.    



Begin by looking at a map that displays where the polar bears are hunting in the Hudson Bay.  http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/about-polar-bears/tracking/bear-tracker

Discuss the locations of the polar bears.  How far are they travelling from the shore?    Why?

Show the Arctic Sea Ice video that displays the changes in the amount of sea ice over the last 35 years.   Encourage students to discuss what they are seeing.  http://youtu.be/UlQAxxyXhJI

Tell students that they will be learning about the impact that global warming is having on sea ice and the polar bear.   Explain that they will use iPads to read about the situation via the two websites listed above, exploring the resources to learn more about climate change and it's impact on polar bears.     Once they've concluded their research, students will use the iPads to create something that can be shared.  Students will have 2 hours to conduct their research then create a digital presentation to share what they have learned with the others in the class using the website as well as their YouTube channel.   

Teacher Tips:

  • Because students will be using YouTube resources, be sure that they are working where the iPads are visible.    This would NOT be a good time to let them go out into the hall.
  • It is not totally necessary to have one iPad per student.    With all of these activities a shared device could be used or some students could use iPads with others on laptops.
Student Instructions
  • Analyze information on graph
  • Make observations and predict future patterns
  • Discuss how it connects to what they have been studying

2 Pre-Assessment

Assess what students know about polar bears using Kahoot.it quiz.

Distribute iPads
Use Kahoot.it! to conduct pre-assessment.

Is it True?  Quiz using Kahoot.it! 

https://play.kahoot.it/ - /k/282fc4e1-e2e0-412e-8683-777620490ffc


Student Instructions

Log into Kahoot.it quiz.

Answer questions about polar bears based on what you know.

3 Group Overview and Discussions

Activity: Conversing

Students will use “Polar Bears in a Warming World” Google Slides presentation to view information and watch videos about how climate change is impacting the survival of polar bears.   They will use iPads to view the presentation either individually, in pairs, or in small groups.  To make it easy for them to access the site, create a QR code that they can scan.

Instruct students to scan the QR code to access the “Polar Bears in a Warming World” slideshow.   Advise students that they can review the information in the slideshow on their own, with a partner, or in a group of 3.   Encourage them to pause to discuss the information that they are viewing and/or record their observations.   Explain that when they are finished they can explore other videos and information on the polarbearsinternational website or youtube channel.  Their goal is to collect information that they can share via the iPad using one or more of the guiding questions provided.   Quick research should be conducted on Day 1 of the lesson and mini-projects created on Day 2.

As students view the slideshow, articles, and videos, the teacher will circulate to observe, ask questions, and offer insights.    


Teacher Tip:  As you are circulating around the room, listen to the conversations going on and interject as appropriate.   Some students will need help with generating their own conversations about what they are viewing while others will need to ask questions.

Student Instructions

Review the slide show with 1 or 2 other students.   Stop to discuss what you are reading.   Does the information surprise you?   How does it make you feel?    What would you like to investigate further? 

4 Digital Presentations

Students will extend their understanding of information presented in the Google Slideshow using the two websites previously mentioned.  When students have finished their research, they will create a Digial Presentation using an iPad app or apps.    Suggested apps include:

  • iMovie
  • Keynote
  • PhotoGrid
  • ChatterKid

Finished presentations should be uploaded to GoogleDrive and shared with the teacher.

Student Instructions

You will now be conducting your own research about a specific aspect of global warming and how it it impacting polar bears.     Use the two websites to obtain your information.     You may freely explore the Polar Bears International website, but will have to limit your research to the following areas on ecokids.ca since much of the website does not work on iPads.   QR codes for these specific areas are provided for you in the front of the room.

  • Homework Help: The North: An Interview with Sheila Watt-Cloutier
  • Homework Help: The North: Exploring Canada's North
  • Homework Help: The North: Northern Organisms: Eco Field Guide

Using the Guiding Questions below, create a Digial Presentation using an iPad app or apps.    Suggested apps include:


Finished presentations should be uploaded to GoogleDrive and shared with the teacher.

Guiding Questions

What actions might you include in a list of things you can do to slow global warming?

Explain how thinning is ice is affecting polar bears?

Can you predict what will happen if we can reverse global warming for polar bears?

What additional information can you add to what was in the slideshow about the impacts of thinning ice on polar bear populations?

How would you describe the information presented in the slideshow?

What steps are needed to correct the thinning ice problem?

How is thinning Arctic ice related to global warming?

What information can you find that supports the idea that global warming is a problem for some polar bears?

How would you convince someone to take steps to lessen the impact of global warming?

How would you apply what you’ve learned to develop an action plan to save Arctic polar bears?

What could you design to help polar bears adapt to the changing climate conditions?

How can you help educate others about the plight of the polar bears?

5 Differentiation

Activity: Other — Differentiating

This lesson inherently includes differentiation in the following ways:

  • Students have the opportunity to work alone or with a partner who may help in compensating for learning challenges and/or language barriers.
  • Videos include closed captioning.
  • Students can choose the appropriate guiding question and technology tool (ie. iPad app) to match their learning style and abilities.
Student Instructions

Make this activity most meaningful to you in the following ways:

  • Choose to work alone or with the right partners based on how you learn best.   Get support from other students if you need it, but feel free to work independently if that's what works best for you!
  • Use headphones for videos if you desire.
  • Turn on closed captioning for videos if that help you follow what is happening.
  • Select a guiding question that you will be able to answer completely and with a quality response.  Ask your teacher if you need help selecting a question.
  • Use the best app for you to create your digital presentation.   Ask your teacher if you need help selecting a tool.

6 Assessment

Activity: Assessing

This is not a graded activity.   

Assessment will be measured in the following ways:

  • Observation
  • Teacher review of the digital presentations posted on GoogleDrive

Option:  If your district has access to Voicethread and you have time, students could upload their finished presentations to that website to view and comment to each other.   This is an authentic opportunity for students to practice providing meaningful peer feedback. 

Student Instructions

This is not a graded activity.   You will receive feedback from your peers when the presentations are reviewed in class and from your teacher within GoogleDrive.

7 Extend Your Understanding

For students who finish preparing their projects early or want to know more about global warming in the arctic region, allow them time to apply what they've learned and extend their knowledge using activities on the ecokids.ca website.   Since the resources on this site don't work on iPads, students will have to use laptops from the cart for this activity.

Student Instructions

Want to  better understand wildlife and the effects of global warming on them?     Use the following resources on ecokids.ca to extend your understanding!   (Note:  You will need to access this website using a computer, as the resources on this site do not work on iPads).

Effects of Climate Change Quiz - http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/climate/quiz/quiz4.cfm

Pledge to Recycle for Wildlife http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/take_action/en/actions/recycle-for-wildlife/index.cfm

Polar Bear Information and Factshttp://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/climate/ecostats/index.cfm

Exploring Canada's Northhttp://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/canadas_north/index.cfm