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Bears in trouble

  • Key Stage 3
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Communication
Topic: Feeding relationships

This activity aims to show science skills put to use in a career. Students take on the role of a trainee documentary producer. They are working for environmental channel, Planet TV. The programme, called ‘Bears in Trouble’ is about how warming in the Arctic is endangering polar bears. Polar bears seem perfectly adapted to the arctic environment, but students reveal a different story when they study a polar bear’s feeding strategy. Their dependence on sea ice makes them particularly vulnerable to climate change. Students’ challenge is to construct a storyboard for one section of the programme, to explain how bear’s feeding habits are being affected.

A Department for Children, Schools and Families initiative to promote subject choice and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) delivered by the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University and VT Enterprise.

This activity is adapted from the Extinction unit of upd8’s exciting new 11-14 course - ‘wikid’. Find out more here .

Published: 5th February 2009
Reviews & Comments: 8

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Learning objectives

What students will understand:
• Good communication captures attention, keeps the audience interested, and gets the message across with clarity and impact.
• Changes in environmental conditions affect the survival of individuals and whole species.

The question they will explore:
• Climate change: too much too quickly?
• What makes communication effective and persuasive?

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

(PoS 3.3d, strategy 2.2)

Communication (PoS 2.3, strategy 1.1a2)

Running the activity

Full details in the downloadable teachers' guide:

• Starter - Planet TV and students' assignment
• Polar bear feeding
• Storyboarding

News links

A comprehensive guide to getting started in wildlife film making.
Simon King wildlife
An interview with the well known wildlife cameraman and producer.
Articles on film making from the BBC.
'How to get Ahead in Documentary' - information and links.
Use the search engine to find information on many jobs in film making
Help with your career
Use the search engine to find information on many jobs in film making
This page describes some of the maths, science and technology jobs associated with film making.
upd8 Segue course
Details of the Y9-GCSE transition course that follows on from Wikid.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?


Mar 11th, 2011

5 Star

I adapted it slighly for a yr 10 set 1 group. They love it!!!!
Thank you!!!!



Dec 8th, 2010

5 Star

Brill activity. Yr 9 really enjoyed doing the storyboard. The were engaged throught the lesson.

Reviewer: Sarah Irving


May 17th, 2010

5 Star

Reviewer: Kabini Hemady

Thinking skills

Apr 22nd, 2010

4 Star

The students loved it and it helped the understand what team work is all about.

Reviewer: francis usiagwu

Bears in trouble review

Nov 27th, 2009

5 Star

I used this activity with a BTEC First group of very mixed ability. The activity lends itself to differentiation, as you can easily add scaffolding or extension material. You Tube clips playing on IWB throughout the lesson helped to maintain focus and interest, although at one stage we did veer into "bear attacks woman" territory! Still, this helped to increase class participation I suppose. An excellent activity with very useable resources.

Reviewer: Laura Nicholls


Sep 24th, 2009

5 Star

I used this activity in my science class.It was amazing to see how my class was so deeply engrossed in constructing a story board.

Reviewer: Shubhra Rajvanshi

Bears in trouble

May 2nd, 2009

5 Star

Fab activity for low ability year 7. They enjoyed getting into character and thinking about how they'd catch a seal. The storyboard activity is brill - overall a great lesson.

Reviewer: Joanne Hampson


Mar 29th, 2009

4 Star

Worked well with peer review of all storyboards leading to one storyboard being chosen from group.

Reviewer: Colin North

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