February 27 is International Polar Bear Day!
Every year, this day draws attention to the challenges faced by polar bears and other animals in a warming Arctic. What better time to learn about the amazing adaptations of Arctic animals? (And alliteration, apparently.)
The Arctic is home to life that exists nowhere else on Earth. Polar bears, narwhals, bowhead whales and other creatures that are able to live and thrive in the harsh climate of the Arctic because of their biological or behavioral adaptations.
Use this hands-on activity to teach your students about Arctic animal adaptations.
After the activity, students should be able to answer the following questions:
- What makes the environment so harsh and seemingly inhospitable? (thick ice; freezing temperatures; dark waters)
- What animals live in this environment? (polar bears, ringed seals, beluga whales, narwhals, bowhead whales, Arctic birds, walruses)
- What threatens Arctic animal life? How? (global warming; by melting the ice and snow animals and people depend on)
Find the full activity here: Arctic Adaptations
For further discussion:
When students have completed the activity, ask them to apply the same critical thinking to the animals below.
- Have these animals specially adapted to an extremely cold environment?
- How have they adapted?
- How do those adaptations help them to survive?
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