Hibernation is an interesting topic to discuss with young children. It can be described as a sleep-like state that some animals must do in order to survive the winter. Some animals may be in a deep sleep throughout the winter while others are considered light sleepers and still move around occasionally in the wintertime.
Following, you will find some suggestions for children's books, as well as teacher and student websites related to hibernation. This list was prepared for second graders, but some items may be appropriate for slightly younger or older children.
Bear Snores On. By Karma Wilson. Illus. by Jane Chapman. 2002. 40p. Margaret K. McElderry Books, (9780689831874). Gr. K-2
A poetic book that also includes onomatopoeia. The story is about a bear hibernating during a winter storm and everything that goes on while he's sleeping. Many animals come into his den to get out of the storm, bear wakes up and is upset that he has missed out on the party.
Every Autumn Comes the Bear. By Jim Arnosky. Illus. by the author. 1996. 32p. Puffin, (9780698114050). Gr. K-2.
This book includes pretty watercolors and describes how a bear makes its way into hibernation for the winter. It scares a few animals along the way to the perfect location.
Hibernation Station. By Michelle Meadows. Illus. by Kurt Cyrus. 2010. 40p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, (9781416937883). Gr. K-2.
This is a cute book with great illustrations. It shows the many different animals that hibernate in the wintertime in their pajamas preparing for a good winter's sleep. The animals get on a log train together and work hard to get comfortable with so many bodies around!
How and Why Animals Prepare for Winter. By Elaine Pascoe and Joel Kupperstein. Illus. by Dwight Kuhn. 2000. 16p. Creative Teaching Pr, (9781574716646). Gr. K-2.
This book includes information on animals and their preparation for winter. It includes neat photography.
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons. By Il Sung Na. 2010. 24p. Alfred A. Knopf, (9780375867866). Gr. K-2.
A book describing a rabbit's journey as he explores the many different animals and how they spend their winters until spring comes around again.
A site which includes coloring worksheets and animal descriptions for students.
A quick video showing a bear in Yellowstone prepare for hibernation. A neat clip for teachers to show students.
A lesson plan for teachers on hibernation. It includes a link to a good animal workbook to give students.
This website includes explanations and examples of migration, adaptation, hibernation, and more for teachers or students.
This website has good information on hibernation as well as activities and videos for students. It is a subscription website but allows for a 30 day free trial.
Virginia Standards of Learning
The student will investigate and understand that weather and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings. Key concepts include effects of weather and seasonal changes on the growth and behavior of living things.
Background Information from Curriculum Framework
- Living organisms respond to weather and seasonal changes. This can be reflected in changes in growth and behavior.
- Dormancy is a state of reduced metabolic activity adopted by man organisms (both plants and animals) under conditions of environmental stress or when such stressful conditions are likely to appear, such as in winter.
- Some animals (e.g., groundhogs, black bears) go into a deep sleep (hibernation) due to seasonal changes. Hibernation is a condition of biological rest or inactivity where growth, development, and metabolic processes slow down.