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Animal Hibernation and Migration

We will discuss why some animals in Iowa hibernate or migrate, and why that helps them to survive in the Midwest better than other animals. Students will learn how to construct an argument for why in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. 

Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, Wapello, Iowa

Driving Question

  • Why do some animals migrate, some hibernate, and some do neither?

Probing Questions

  • What do you think animals do differently to continue living depending on the weather in Iowa?
  • Why do you think some animals stay in Iowa during season changes and some leave? 
  • Why do you think the animals who leave come back? 
  • How might animals' bodies allow them to stay in cold temperatures?

Classroom Suggestions

Students could:

  • Choose an animal native to Iowa to research and then share with the class. They would look up how their animal survives in the winter; if their animal stays in Iowa or travels somewhere else if their animal hibernates etc. They could also describe characteristics their animal has that would help them survive the winter, or would not help them survive the winter. Students could then create a presentation with their information to share. 
  • Begin by filling out a KWL worksheet with what they know about hibernation and migration, and what they would like to know, and then after a class discussion, they could fill in what they learned. You could then watch a video on the differences between hibernation and migration. After watching the video, you could discuss as a class which the students thought was better, hibernation or migration, and why. 
  • Learn about and discuss the differences between adaptation, hibernation, and migration. Students could then, either in small groups, pairs, or individually, complete a picture sort, moving the animals to their correct locations, either hibernation, migration, or adaptation. This could be done using strictly animals native to Iowa, or whatever group of animals you’d like. 

Relevant Related Resources

Iowa Core Alignment


Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all

Credit Info

Phenomena submitted by Katie Steene and Alex Holden

Phenomena Comments

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