The Florida Black Bear Curriculum is a joint project of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Defenders of Wildlife.
The Curriculum Guide is a comprehensive series of lessons on the natural history and conservation needs of Florida's black bear. Designed to educate and stimulate teachers and students in grades 3-8.
The lessons were designed to address many subject areas such as reading, language arts, history, geography, social studies, math, art and science. Each lesson is correlated to the Florida Standards for each subject addressed.
In addition, FWC partnered with Untamed Science, Inc.to grant Florida teachers access to additional black bear curriculum materials via blackbearinfo.com. Teachers can register for free to use additional lessons on this educational website.
Why study the Florida black bear?
Florida's black bears are fascinating animals that once roamed the state in large numbers. Because children are naturally interested in, and attracted to, large charismatic mammals such as bears, the Florida bear acts as an ambassador and introduces students to ecological concepts and biodiversity in a concrete and relevant way. Plus, it's fun to read, write, and do math about bears!
Although the primary focus of the curriculum is the Florida black bear, the curriculum actually uses the Florida bear as a focal point to address broad and significant ecological concepts including limiting factors, carrying capacity, optimal versus marginal habitat, habitat fragmentation and corridors, habitat mosaics, and umbrella and indicator species. The underlying message connecting all of the lessons in the curriculum is that the best way to save a species like the Florida black bear is to restore, protect and connect large tracts of undisturbed natural habitat.