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Polar Bears International


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 44 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, Polar Regions


YouTube Video

A Polar Bear's Life: Emerging from the Den

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  • This video depicts the life of a mother polar bear and her cubs as they emerge from their den in spring, then it describes how greenhouse gases are threatening the polar bear's habitat. 
  • Students will learn about polar bears, the greenhouse effect, sea ice melting, and what humans can do to slow this process.
Teaching Tips


  • This video provides engaging footage of polar bears in their natural habitats.
  • This resource also provides graphics and diagrams to help aid comprehension of what is causing climate change. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may help younger students' comprehension to pause the video for discussion at 2:10 when the narrator transitions from polar bear facts to an explanation of why sea ice is melting. 
  • Students should have basic background knowledge on fossil fuels, their uses, and their prevalence. 


  • In language arts classes, ask students to write a persuasive paper about moving to more renewable energy sources, citing the damaging effects of fossil fuels. 
  • Ask younger students to draw pictures with labels describing why stable, predictable sea ice is so important to polar bear families, focusing on facts learned in the video about polar bear behavior and needs. 
  • In art classes, use this mural depicting desperate polar bears or this mural showcasing the interaction between polar bears and humans to inspire students to create their own work of art about polar bears.
  • Social studies classes could discuss the ways that people are coping with the threats posed by the climate crisis after seeing how polar bears are already being affected. 
  • Allow students time to explore other resources from Polar Bears International to discover more fun facts, coloring sheets, and information. 
  • Other related resources include this video about what melting sea ice means for some species and this lesson plan and experiment that helps students further understand melting sea ice. 
Scientist Notes
This resource is a short video, 3:44 minutes, that presents the life of a mother polar bear and her young cubs as they emerge from the den. The video addresses how the melting of sea ice caused by climate change makes cub rearing more difficult for the mother polar bear. The greenhouse effect and CO2 emissions from energy use are discussed, and the video advocates removing fossil fuels from our energy supply. Actionable steps are presented for adults and children to protect polar bears and the climate in general. This video presents an engaging look at how climate change impacts a vulnerable animal population, leaves everyone with a mission, and is valuable if it fosters a larger discussion of climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • 3-LS4-2 Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2 Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
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