“Teaching our children about compassion is one of the most important things we can do for them and the future of humanity.” — Dalai Lama
Integration of Endangered Species into Curriculum
Most children love animals. They are often the hook teachers need to get their students engaged in a lesson. Cute and cuddly, slimy and icky, creatures hook children into learning. A unit focused on endangered species is a natural extension of that fascination.
Three Reasons to Teach about Endangered Species
Most importantly, as the Dalai Lama tells us, providing:
Boy with Monarch Butterfly
Hagerty Ryan USFW, Public Domain, Public Domain Images
- opportunities to develop compassion is important for children and for the world. Learning about creatures ravaged by poaching and illegal hunting and displaced by habitat loss is a fantastic way to foster compassion in our youth. Accountability for our actions is a big lesson learned in studying endangered species.
- Children are the future custodians of our planet. Teaching them the value of all creatures is an important step in raising environmentally aware citizens thus ensuring a healthy planet with strong biodiversity for future generations.
- The study of endangered species is a great way to engage students by integrating subject areas. Language arts, science, geography, social studies and math all have relevance in the study of endangered species. Language arts is represented by readings and research studies on endangered animals. Food webs and biodiversity are relevant areas of biology important in the study of these creatures. Geography studies the ecozone and country of origin of endangered animals. Social studies topics might look at how humans have caused extinctions in the past and activities and behaviors that have led to animals being on the endangered species list today.
William Waterway, CC BY-SA 3.0, via WikiCommons
Begin your adventure in teaching about endangered species by downloading a printable worksheet that outlines what endangered species are and differentiates natural extinctions from human-influenced reductions in species numbers. The worksheet has a short reading passage followed by seven comprehension questions. This worksheet would be perfect as bell work or part of an interactive notebook for grades 7-10.
If you haven’t already, download the worksheet here.
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