We’re sharing another entry in our unit studies series today: a fun hibernation unit study!
Since winter time is fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to look at hibernation – how it works, what it is, and which animals do it every year.
Plus, it’s a great excuse for talking about sleep, which I desperately need more of these days. (I’m sure I’m not alone there.)
Even if your students are always on the move and rarely want to sleep (like mine), learning about hibernation is just plain fun!
It’s really amazing to learn about mammals that sleep most of the winter season and what they do to prepare for that time of year.
And that’s what this hibernation unit is designed to help kids do. Plus, there’s a printable hibernation sorting activity you can pick up for free!
Read on to see how to get your copy.
If you enjoy this unit, don’t miss our bears unit study and our list of children’s books about owls!
Hibernation Unit Study for Elementary Kids
When we put together a unit study, we typically include books, crafts, printables, and more.
While I don’t always use every resource, I like to have as many as I can. That way, we can always stretch a topic out if the kids are super interested.
In this hibernation unit, you’ll find books about hibernation, crafts and activities for learning about hibernation, and a printable hibernation animals sorting activity.
There’s also a super cool hibernation facts video that explains this process in kid-friendly terms.
What is Hibernation?
Watch this video and see if students can answer the questions that follow!
1. What is hibernation? (Answer: The long sleep that some animals take during winter.)
2. Why do animals hibernate? (Answer: Because the weather gets cold and food becomes hard to find.)
3. How do animals prepare for hibernation? (Answer: As winter gets closer, they eat a lot of food to store fat that will keep them alive during winter.)
4. Why do some animals store food before winter? (Answer: These animals wake up from their hibernation to eat a little.)
5. Name a few animals that hibernate. (Answer: Bats, snakes, bears, hedgehogs, ground squirrels, groundhogs, and marmots)
6. Where do animals hibernate? (Answer: Wherever they feel safe from predators. Some hibernate in caves and some hibernate under the ground.)
7. What is the difference between sleep and hibernation? (Answer: During hibernation, the animal’s body temperature drops and its heart rate slows down. These things don’t happen during regular sleep.)
8. What is it called when animals hibernate during summer? (Answer: Aestivation)
Hibernation Books for Kids
Share a cozy storytime session with these kids’ books about hibernation! (Affiliate links are listed below. For details, see our Disclosure Policy.)
- Don’t Wake Mr. Bear! by Jill Newton
- Scholastic Reader Level 2: Hibernation by Tori Kosara
- Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows
- Hibernation (Patterns in Nature Series) by Margaret Hall
- What is Hibernation? (Science of Living Things) by John Crossingham
- Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
- Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear by Monica Carnesi
- National Geographic Kids: Sleep, Bear! by Shelby Alinsky
- When It Starts to Snow (An Owlet Book) by Phillis Gershator
- Baxter’s Hibernation by Michelle M. Birkenstock
Which Animals Hibernate? Sorting Activity
Once we learn about what hibernation is, it’s natural for students to wonder which animals hibernate and which animals don’t hibernate.
Teach them about some of the species that do with this free printable animal sorting activity!
This is a very simple resource to use for teaching hibernation in early grades.
Students can cut out the animal picture cards and then paste them into the correct column.
And an answer key is included!
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Hibernation Crafts and Printables:
Try these crafts and printables about hibernation for more learning fun during your hibernation unit!
- Printable Early Reader Hibernation Books – The Measured Mom
- Hibernation Sensory Bag – School Time Snippets
- Paper Bag Chipmunk Craft – I Heart Crafty Things
- Animals in Winter Printable – 3 Boys and a Dog
- Hibernating Bear Craft – Apples and ABCs
- Hibernation Vs Migration: Animal Sorting Activity – Totschooling
- Hibernating Bear Paper Bag Craft – Almost Unschoolers
- H is for Hibernation Craft – Teaching Mama
- Hibernating Bear Paper Plate Craft – A Little Pinch of Perfect
- Hibernating Animal Puppets – Love to Teach
Did you enjoy this hibernation unit study? Check out these other winter learning ideas!