How Do  Bears Measure Up?

  • Make a life size model of an adult black bear foot.  Measure your foot and compare to a black bear’s foot.
  • Measure and compare the height of an adult black bear to your height.
  • Compare the height, length and weight of known objects to a black bear.  For example, a sofa might be 6 feet long, 3 ½ feet high and weigh 150 lbs.
  • Use a bear print as non-standard measure.
  • Find equivalents to a cub’s weight at birth, and as it grows.
  • Compare a silhouette of an adult black bear/6 month old cub to a child.


Size and Appearance

Bear Tracks and Trails

Where is Ely, MN?

Determine the distance from your location to Ely, MN.

Use to compare the temperature/weather in Ely, to your location.

Discuss the economic value that the Lily Den Cam has had on Ely, MN.

How Many Cubs?

Set up different scenarios for age of first parturition (birth), number of cubs, interval between litters, sex ratio of cubs, cub survival, etc. and have students calculate the total number of cubs resulting from a bear clan matriarch over a set number of years.  Take into account that female cubs will also produce cubs.

Quick Black Bear Facts

Shadow’s Clan Family Tree

Comparative Measures

Display the pictures of the mother and cub at the bottom of Introduction From Dr Lynn Rogers.  Use vocabulary such as heavier, heaviest, smaller, smallest, lighter, lightest, to describe the bears.  Practice sorting objects according to size and weight.  Create a poster that pictorially documents the relative sizes of a bear cubs’ development.

Mothers Raise Cubs

How Much Does a Bear Cub Weigh?

Cubs weigh less than a pound at birth. 4-6 week old cubs weigh 2-3 pounds.  Use bear counters to weigh and measure teddy bears the children brought from home.  Using a balance scale, compare the teddy bear’s weight to a standard weight of one pound and two pounds.

Care of Newborn Cubs

The Cubs Develop

Map study:  Geographical and Weather Review a map of North America so children know the range of black bears.  Locate your geographic location.  Do black bears live in your area?    Make a graph of the weather in Ely, and the weather in your location.  Compare the two.

Black Bear Range

Research Types of Bears

There are eight species of bear in the world; three species live in North America.  Ursus americanus American black bear, Ursus arctos Brown (Grizzly) bear and Ursus maritimus Polar bear.  Ursus in Latin means bear.  Make a class graph of your favorite type of North American bear.

Basic Bear Facts

Brown or Grizzly Bear Facts

Polar Bear Facts


Estimate how many gummy bears, or bear crackers are in a jar.

Sort and graph by color

Give children 10-20 gummy bears or bear crackers and have them graph them by color.

Animal tracks/prints

Show the children a replica of a paw print of a bear. Compare to other animal prints. Have the children make a print of their foot in paint. Compare all the prints, noticing claws, toes, heels, etc. Measure all and graph data. Trace and cut out an approximately sized bear paw. Measure with standard measurements.

Measuring Height Have children predict how tall a black bear is. Discover how tall a black bear is while standing on its hind legs.   Measure and place a tape on the wall.  Have each child measure a partner using a yardstick. Compare to the height of a bear. Graph results.

Quick Black Bear Facts