I LOVE bears. I think it would be fun to do a little research project on Bears to kick off the year. Kids love learning about animals and I think Grizzly, Brown, Panda, and Polar Bears are all very interesting topics for kids to research. And there are so many neat books out there to start us off. I have so many bear books that I filled a magazine box up with them; everything from brown bears, grizzly bears to polar bears and just fun bear stories. We will start by doing a little list of facts on the bear of our choice. Then we will find out where he lives and what he eats. Little mini reports are always interesting for kids to write.
I have a fun activity I purchased last year. It is a pawprint paper mache set of molds of many furry animals of the forest. Bear paw is one of the prints we will make. The kids will love it. Above is also an animal tracks picture matching to cards game. It looks like a lot of fun.
I found a fun interactive website the students can go to and see lots of different animal tracks. The link for the Bear Tracker website is HERE. The author shows many different diagrams of animal tracks from forests, desserts, you name it! Just have kids click on the animal of their choice for some interesting facts.
A cute art project for the grizzly bear can be found at Art Projects for Kids. It is a tutorial on how to draw a grizzly bear. It looks pretty easy too. This website is THE BEST so go check it out! I know my students will do a great job on it. Here's a picture from her cool website!
Everyday Teaching has this hinged bear
Link to the Bear art is HERE.
This Panda Math book I bought has subtraction word problems written into the text on the reading page. It is a fun "braniac" activity for the kids in my gifted class to try to figure out the story problems.
You could also use the counting colored bear counters to do addition and subtraction problems in the classroom to go along with the bears you are studying.
The students could also make up their own subtraction word problems using bear rubber stamps I have. They could call the bears grizzly, panda or polar bear or just the color of bear they want to use. I've also got strips of clip art bears they could color, cut out and past onto paper to make their word problems.
A link to a set I bought for less that $8.00 is HERE on Ebay.
Have fun with YOUR bear unit!