Fat Bear Week 2022 Crowns Champion

By Grace Krane

Bear 747 ran (well, most likely meandered) to the Fat Bear Championship during Fat Bear Week 2022. The hotly contested title was declared at the end of Fat Bear Week, October 5-11. 

Courtesy of:  https://explore.org/fat-bear-week

Over 90,000 students, teachers, and bear-fanatics participated in Fat Bear week 2022. The Fat Bear Week fans completed brackets and daily surveys to vote on which selected bear in the Alaskan Katmai National Park would become the fattest in preparation for the winter season. 

This year, fan favorite, Bear 747, was declared the fattest with 73,859 votes, over Bear 335 with 22,624 votes. 

Former Fat Bear Week participant and 2021 bracket champion McKenna Melton explained her favorite part about Fat Bear Week was, “Winning, and looking at pictures of fat bears.” 

Melton found participating in Fat Bear Week helped her in the classroom. Melton explained, “Fat Bear Week helped me understand cellular respiration’s role in energy consumption.” Melton enthusiastically stated she would, “Obviously participate again.” 

The competition spreads awareness of wildlife habitat protection for the bears, and raises money for the Katmai Conservatory. In addition to raising awareness for habitat loss, Fat Bear Week is an educational opportunity for many teachers to use while explaining natural concepts, such as hibernation or cellular respiration. 

Bellbrook High School Biology teacher Mr. Reinhart uses Fat Bear Week as a launch into AP Biology student’s cellular respiration and energy unit. “I use the familiar concept of how bears are skinnier at one time of the year, and eat as much as they can before they hibernate to store energy. Then, when the bears come out of hibernation they are much skinnier again, as they have lost most of the weight they had put on,” said Reinhart. “I am basically able to teach the concept of cellular respiration while fat bear week is going on, and then at the end of Fat Bear Week, and at the end of that unit, I typically ask [students] to explain that phenomenon.”

Reinhart came across Fat Bear Week through a Facebook group chat of between 7,000 and 8,000 other AP Biology students. “From time to time, I will get on that Facebook page to look for new ideas or materials. A lot of those teachers are really good at sharing things, and I happened to stumble across [Fat Bear Week] while I was looking for something else,” said Reinhart.

Fat Bear Week has become a yearly tradition in Mr. Reinhart’s AP Biology classes. 

Reinhart was excited to mention that the bear he chose for his bracket won Fat Bear Week 2022. “Some years I have done pretty terrible, last year was an awful year, but this year, my bear won and I tied for first along with two other students, [senior] John Goffinett, and [junior] Ava Eldridge,” said Reinhart. 

Similar to Melton’s favorite part of Fat Bear Week, Reinhart explained he enjoys, “The pictures. They try to catch these bears in unflattering poses, and it is just kind of funny to kind of go through those pictures. And then as Fat Bear Week is taking place, usually there are a lot of really good memes that are created throughout.”

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