This poignant story tells the tale of a polar bear cub and its mother in the Arctic, describing the hardships and ultimate sacrifice the mother makes to search for food in a melting Arctic.
Students will learn about the causes of climate change and the impacts that these changes are having on polar bears and their habitat.
This fictitious story is engaging to young learners, as it includes talking animals and other imaginative elements.
The book has English and Spanish text on each page and is also available in Spanish.
Students should have background information on the basics of climate change.
This book may be emotional and difficult for some students, as it deals with themes of hunger, parental loss, and suffering animals, so prepare for how to provide support for students' questions and emotions.
Consider providing students with a T-chart of fiction and nonfiction themes and ask them to write or draw pictures of what is make-believe, such as a polar bear watching television, and what is true, such as polar bears hunting seals to survive.
Pause the video on the page that explains the increased distance between icebergs and ask students to explain what the diagram is showing and why this is a problem for polar bears.
The last page of the book asks students to draw their own sunset, so either print the page or give students a blank page to prepare for this activity.
As the book's ending doesn't give an explicit explanation for what happens to the mother, provide students with the opportunity to discuss what they believe happened and why.
Provide students with the opportunity to write an alternate ending to the book using words or pictures, in which people take immediate action to reverse climate change and Ollie and his mother are given a better chance of survival.
Pair this book with some of the resources from Polar Bears International, such as this coloring sheet asking students to write a message from a polar bear.
This video is a short story about Ollie, a young polar bear. In the story, Ollie learns about climate change and sees the effect it has on the Arctic, ice melt, and his mom’s ability to get food. While this story is a piece of fiction, the science about climate change and its impacts on polar bears and their food is accurate. After the story is read, the author gives a concise review of what climate change is and how it affects polar bears, including what readers can do to help. These solutions are simple but appropriate for younger readers. The words are written in English and Spanish, but the video is only narrated in English. As a note, the book does have a theme of parental loss, which may be a tough topic for some. This resource is recommended for teaching.
This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Literature (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.3 Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.