Free Hibernation Unit Study

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This free hibernation unit study will help your kids learn about what happens during hibernation, which animals do it, and how they protect themselves as they sleep.

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As fall continues, many animals began the process of hibernation. During the summer, they eat to gain weight.

During the early fall, they make nests or build dens. Then as temperatures get colder, they settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Free Hibernation Unit Study

What is Hibernation?

Read the facts about hibernation and then ask the kids to answer the following questions:

  • What happens to an animal when it hibernates? (Answer: It goes into a long sleep.)
  • What do some animals do to prepare for hibernation? (Answer: They eat to gain weight and make nests.)
  • Do all animals that hibernate sleep for the entire winter? (Answer: No. Some do, but others wake up for a short time.)
  • What keeps animals from getting too cold as they hibernate? (Answer: They have special controls in their body that wake them up if the weather gets too cold.)

Which Animals Hibernate for the Winter?

Despite popular opinion, mammals are not the only animals that hibernate: some reptiles and insects do too!

Look at the following resource and then ask your kids to write down 10 animals that hibernate for the winter.

Answers include:

  • Hedgehog
  • Horseshoe bat
  • Brown bear
  • Polar bear
  • Chinese alligator
  • Grass snake
  • Marsh frog
  • Hornet
  • Purple emperor butterfly
  • Garden snail

How Does Bear Hibernation Work?

Bears hibernate longer than many other animals. Have your children research how bear hibernation works differently than other animals and then see if they can answer the following questions. 

  • What is one reason why bears hibernate?
  • How do bears know it’s time to go to sleep?
  • Where do bears sleep during hibernation?
  • How much does a bear’s heart rate decline during hibernation?
  • How long do bears hibernate?
  • Why do bears sleep lightly during hibernation?

Books about Hibernation

Learn about hibernation and hibernating animals with these great fiction and non-fiction books for kids!

For even more unit studies, check out our other unit studies here.

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