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Classroom Projects

Endangered Species Lesson and Collaboration

The project is designed to be simple, making few demands on time and resources. Give a presentation about a local endangered species, emphasizing ecology and the processes that are threatening the species. You may want to have a local ecologist or biologist visit your classroom and talk about a local endangered species.

Students can then share what they have learned with a partner school where a class has followed the same steps with a local species. This can be done in various ways, such as a report, artwork, poem, etc.  Once the information is exchanged between the classrooms, have the students discuss what they have learned about their partner school's endangered species. This discussion should incorporate some of the similarities and differences between the species and regions.

The basic ideas behind the exchange are that endangered species occur everywhere (although the specific organisms change from place to place) and that the processes and biology contributing to endangered species are universal. This conservation education project strives to emphasize the common themes in conservation that are faced by people everywhere. The goal is to introduce students in grades K-12 to both local and global threats to biological diversity by opening a dialogue between students and a local conservation biologist, as well as a partner school in another area.

Teacher Information

Arrange two blocks of time, one for the presentation, as well as time to collect and compile materials produced by the students as a class or as homework. The students' work should then be sent to the partner school‘s team. Following is a list of what your class will accomplish through this project.

Teacher will:

  • Briefly discuss science, ecology, conservation biology
  • Present a local endangered species to your class, helping the students understand its biology, ecology and the threats to its survival
  • Help your class participate in a hands-on project regarding endangered species that will be collected and mailed or emailed to your partner school doing a similar assignment
  • discuss similarities and differences between the two species chosen by your school and your partner school

Your class will:

  • Learn about endangered species and research one specific to your area
  • Complete a project that will be exchanged with a project from a partner school (often something written with drawings in the form of a booklet, poem, or poster)
  • Write up a short final report addressing endangered species and what they learned about the two species presented to them

Topics to cover:

  • Pick a local endangered species
  • Discuss possible causes for a species to become endangered, for example, habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, exotic/invasive species, pollution, etc.
  • Discuss some ecological effects caused by listing a species as endangered, for example, the decline in biodiversity of an ecosystem, extinction, habitat/ecosystem changes, etc.
  • Describe conservation measures that are being used today: habitat restoration, mitigation, captive breeding programs, implementation of habitat reserves, sustainable approaches to living - personal and industrial - and others.

Possible projects for your students:

  • Draw a picture of the endangered species
  • Write a poem about the species
  • Make a poster showing how the species became endangered
  • Make a booklet describing the species' biology and threats (including pictures of the organism, range maps, etc.)
  • Make a crossword puzzle for each of the students to complete that contains information about the biology of and threats to the endangered species covered
  • Divide the class into groups and make posters detailing each step of how the local species became endangered and subsequent effects on the surrounding environment
  • Have students write a paragraph describing at least one human activity that contributes to a species becoming endangered