This science for six-year-olds post is a little different than my previous posts, because this time I'm back-blogging about a presentation that I already gave to the first graders in person. Since I'm now back in New Jersey, I was able to visit their class to talk about my favorite subject, bears. While we know I'm partial to polar bears, in Mrs. Podolak's class we talked about black bears.
Black bears are the type of bear that can be found in New Jersey. The reason I decided to talk about them with the first graders is because I brought Bob in for a bit of show and tell. This is Bob:
|Credit: Erin Podolak|
Bob is a black bear skull that a friend passed along to my Dad a couple of years ago. The skull was found by a hunter in the woods in northern New Jersey within the normal range for black bears (Ursus americanus) in this area. The skull was pretty clean, but we boiled it just to be sure and now it makes for a great show and tell item to talk about the species and how it lived. The kids really loved getting to hold Bob and take a look at his jaws. They asked some great questions, like "where did his brain go when he died?" To answer that we had to talk about decay and how bacteria will break down tissue that isn't alive anymore. Deep stuff for first graders, I was impressed.
|Credit: Erin Podolak|
- There have been confirmed sightings of black bears in all 21 counties in New Jersey, but they are more concentrated in the northern area of the state.
- Black bears are the largest land mammal that can be found in New Jersey
- Female black bears can weight around 175lbs, while males weight around 400lbs
- Black bears have very strong senses of smell and hearing
- Their habitat typically includes hardwood forest areas, but they can also be found in dense swamps or forested wetlands.
- The most common problems humans experience regarding black bears occur when the bears are attracted to garbage that has been left outdoors.
- Black bears can run as a speed of 35 miles for hour.
- Contrary to their name, not all black bears have black fur. Some black bears are brown or cinnamon colored, or they can have a white patch on their chest.
- Black bears stand about three feet high when on all fours, and can reach five to seven feet tall when they are standing upright.