Replacing Myths and Misconceptions with Scientific Facts
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Black Bear Curriculum Map

In creating curriculum for "Replacing Misconceptions with Scientific Facts about Black Bears," the North American Bear Center's Educational Outreach Team used the 'Understanding by Design' model of Curriculum Mapping. This model uses essential questions rather than measurable objectives to stimulate learning. By answering key questions, students at any level develop an enduring understanding of the information presented on www.bear.org and www.bearstudy.org. As we develop this work in progress, new lessons and activities will ensure that instructional attention is given to all of the bulleted areas listed under content understandings.

Essential Questions:

  • What is biology and what do biologists do in 'the field' and in the lab?
  • How can you use observation skills to study the world in which you live?
  • How do biologists use tools and their senses to learn about black bears?
  • How do humans define and contribute to nuisance bears?
  • How do biologists organize data to make sense of what they observe?
  • How do biologists use technology to obtain and organize data?
  • How does the study of black bears help us to understand and answer questions about them?

Students will understand:

  • Bear Biologists: what they do, their use of radio collars and telemetry
  • Problems black bears encounter as their habitat meshes with civilization
  • Ways in which humans can co-exist with black bears

Essential Questions:

  • What characteristics are used to classify animals?
  • How does the variation of individuals affect survival?
  • What do living things need in order to survive?
  • How do the structures and functions of black bears allow them to meet their needs?
  • How do plants and black bears depend on each other for survival?
  • How do black bears interact with other creatures, their environment, and each other?
  • How do biologists measure changes in black bears and their environment over time?
  • How do black bears adapt to their environment?

Students will understand:

  • Physical characteristics of bears (bear biology)
  • Black bear intelligence
  • Reproductive cycle in black bears
  • Ways in which black bears communicate
  • Black bear longevity and causes of death
  • Foods: what black bears eat, foraging behavior, what biologists learn from scat
  • Denning and hibernation
  • Black bear life cycle: newborns, growth, activities after leaving den, family break up
  • Black bear activities: climbing, defending territory, foraging, swimming, staying safe, mating, etc.
  • Black bear sign: scat, broken branches, trees, claw marks on trees, paw prints
  • Social organization of black bears
  • The range of black bears

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