Unit 5 – Species
Lesson One – Endangered Animals
Hello Evergreen community members. Usually, I am super excited to teach, but writing this, I realize it is a sad lesson. Today we are learning about Mass Extinction. Animals worldwide are threatened with extinction; for many species, one wrong event could be the end of it all. To help your students understand the concept of extinction, we are going to create a board game!
Before we create our game, there are important terms we need to learn first.
- Extinct Species: A species that has entirely died out
- Endangered: A species that does not have many individuals left and is close to becoming extinct
- Threatened species: A species that is declining in numbers and close to becoming endangered
The leading causes of extinction are
- Deforestation – when the forest is clear cut in an unsustainable way
- Desertification – when areas of land that are supposed to be green from meadows or forest are turning into a desert
- Pollution – when there is trash or other unwanted substances (such as chemicals and oil) left in the natural world
- Climate Change – when weather patterns become more extreme due to the rising temperate of the Earth
- Disease – When a virus or other illness kills a large portion of a population
- Habitat destruction – When an animal’s habitat is destroyed by humans, making it difficult for the animal to drink water, eat food, sleep, raise young, or any other activity the animal needs to do to survive.
- Overharvesting – when a species is removed from its environment too fast for the species to reproduce
- Invasive species – When animals or plants from another part of the world are transported over and end up stealing all the resources made for the native animal
- Overhunting – when animals are hunted too quickly, and they cannot reproduce
- Lack of food – when an animal’s food sources are too low, and they can no longer find food
Earlier, we completed a whole lesson on habitat loss. If you completed the activity, now would be a great time to review it. If you have not done the project yet, consider doing these two activities together.
Create a miniature board game!
- Small poster board
- Coloring Utensils
- Index cards (optional)
- Animal pieces
- Start with having students map out a path with at least 30 species. The point of the board game will be to evade extinction.
- Make a mark for at least every three spaces. The space can either be a card space or simply have the name of the space written down. The space should include an example.
- These spaces will either help or hurt the student move forward.
- Have students spend time decorating their boards
- Either order game pieces online, create them yourself, or use printed species cards (print at half page size to make the squares smaller)