Inspired Classroom
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Bear Crossing the Road

Why do Bears Cross the Road?

Be part of our second collaboration with Sinopah Wildlife Research Associates and the Yellowstone to Yukon Foundation!


Why do bears cross the road? What kind of trouble could two mischievous cubs get into as they travel with their mom? What should they learn along the way? How do they find their way across busy highways?

These questions and more are posed by Inspired Classroom and Sinopah Wildlife Research Associates entitled ‘WHY DOES THE BEAR CROSS THE ROAD?’.  Students across the United States and Canada can submit entries of art work and descriptions for compilation in a collaborative book describing mother grizzly bear Silver and her two cubs Arcti and Ursi as they travel their range from their den site to summer food sources!   Along the way Silver has to teach her cubs how to be bears and live in harmony with humans and the highways crisscrossing the land.

The book concludes with non-fiction information and photos from internationally renowned wildlife biologist, Dr. Michael Sawaya, and researchers summarizing studies about highway dangers and ways to connect wildlife corridors, making it safer for bears and humans.

The objectives of the international art contest are to teach the importance of wildlife connectivity and develop transboundary connections.  

Any students in kindergarten through eighth grade may participate.  No age categories are stipulated. 

Judging and Winners

·        A panel of art educators, authors, and wildlife biologists will review all entries.

·        Finalist’s artwork and descriptions will be featured in the final book.

·        Finalists will receive:

o   A certificate of recognition

o   A copy of the final book

·        Participating classrooms will be entered into a drawing for a one hour, free video conference visit from Dr. Sawaya. ($150 value).

Project Theme

The book will follow the bears’ journey starting with emerging from their den and traversing the wilderness and the human/wildlife interface.  Along the way, the cubs will learn lessons about how to navigate their world, stay away from attractants, and cross highways safely.  However, what cubs should do and what they really want to do can be two different things.  Students can imagine what crazy hijinks the cubs might wish they could do.  Artwork can be realistic, fantastical or abstract.

 Media and Technique Requirements

Any of the following media or techniques may be used.

·        Paint (watercolor, tempera, poster, acrylic, etc.)

·        Drawing materials (pencil, charcoal, colored chalk, pastels, oil pastels, colored pencils, markers, etc.

·        Collage materials (cut and glued papers, such as construction paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, aluminum foil, etc.)

·        Prints (handmade stencils, gadget printing, collographs, block prints, etc.)

·        Photography (original)

·        Original digital illustration

·        No three-dimensional work, please.

Students are encouraged to use bold colors and strong lines.  Written descriptions may be typed or hand written but should be clearly decipherable and spelled correctly.

Every entry must have a completed entry form securely attached to it.

Judging Criteria

The selection committee will review the entries based on the following criteria:

·        Interpretation of the theme

·        Technical skill (age appropriate)

·        Originality

·        Creative Thinking

Copyright Law

Any artwork that depicts copyrighted images will be rejected.  For example, no artwork depicting characters from television shows, movies, video games, or books will be accepted.  All artwork must be original ideas and created entirely by the students.

Multiple Entries

One entry per student.  Entries become the property of Inspired Classroom and will not be returned to the student.

Deadline for Entries

All entries must be post marked NO LATER than DECEMBER 1, 2019.  Entries submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Notification of Finalists

Finalists will be notified by January 15, 2020.  The book will be published as an e-book and emailed to the finalist’s teacher when complete.

Entry Submission

Artwork must be on done on paper that is no smaller than 9” x 13” with a ½” border around all sides.  The entry submission form should be taped or glued with glue stick on the back of the artwork.  No identifying marks like student names, school names, or signatures should be included on the artwork.  Students will be identified in the book by first name, last initial, school, town, and state.

All entries should be mailed to:    

   Inspired Classroom
  6321 Hillview Way
Missoula, MT  59803


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Click to Print The Entry Form