Teaching Your Students About Endangered Species Using the Web
First, Measure Their Knowledge
Begin this endangered species webquest by seeing what your students already know about endangered species. Ask them to identify as many endangered species as they can and ask them if they believe it is important to preserve these species. Whether they believe it is or is not important to save the species, have them justify their answer.
Students start by naming ten species currently on the endangered species list. If they are animals, write whether they are invertebrates or vertebrates. If they are plants, write whether they are flowering or non-flowering.
Have the students define critical habitat by typing (define:critical habitat) into the Google search bar.
- Define critical habitat.
- Why is critical habitat important for endangered species?
- Do humans have a critical habitat?
Then transition to having your students study climate change to understand the effect it has on endangered species. Have them answer the following questions.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s website on climate change.
EPA Kids site for climate change.
- What is climate change?
- What are greenhouse gas emissions?
- How does climate change effect endangered species?
How to Protect Endangered Species
Finally, wrap up the search by assigning your students the following task:
Pick an endangered species and write a one-page, double-spaced paper on ways that you can help save this endangered species from extinction. This plan that you create must include three different ways in which you can help.
Useful links include:
Common themes for helping endangered species include donating, joining an activist organization, using media to raise awareness for an endangered species, and traveling to locations where endangered species live to study the reasons why their habitat is shrinking or changing.
Tell your students that the paper will be graded on their understanding of the endangered species' habitat, why that habitat is changing, how global climate change is effecting that habitat, how greenhouse gas emissions play a role in that change, and how a student can positively impact an endangered species using their available means.
As your students begin to write this paper it is important for you to guide them and make sure that they are not simply copying and pasting their answers from the web. Teach your students how you would like them to reference text and use quotations on the Internet. Make sure they know that plagiarism is a serious offense.
What They Should Learn
By the end of this endangered species webquest your students should have a comprehensive understanding of critical habitat and climate change as well as their effects on endangered species. They should also have a clear plan to help a specific endangered species.