Why do animals hibernate?

Why do animals hibernate?

I can explain the importance of hibernation.

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Why do animals hibernate?

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In this lesson, students learn about how and why animals hibernate in the winter. They will learn about which animals hibernate and where they stay. In the end, students engineer a den for a bear to hibernate in and explain their design!


NGSS: 3-LS4-3

Learning objective

Students will be able to explain the importance of hibernation for survival.


Students discuss why they think animals hibernate in the winter. Then define hibernation and have students think about which of the animals pictured hibernate in the winter.


Explain how some animals hibernate. For example, some dig holes to hide in while others seek dens. Take a look at the pictures of some animals and discuss where they might hibernate. For example, a bear may hibernate in a den while skunks hibernate underground. Explain what goes on before and during hibernation, and then what occurs once the weather starts to get warmer. After this, students learn about estivation and learn about some animals that hibernate in the summer.


Students respond to multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions on the topic of hibernation.


Students will design and construct a den for a bear to hibernate in. They will utilize a shoebox, leaves, sticks, rocks, cardboard, tape, and scissors. After this, students can explain how they designed and built their structure, and explain how it can protect a bear during hibernation.

Instruction materials

Students will need the following materials for the closing activity:

1 shoebox
Collected outside: leaves, rocks, rocks

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