Students brainstorm what they know and need to learn about endangered species, in order to best answer the driving question for the unit. Students then engage with a variety of sources about the Sumatran rhino to learn about conservation concepts, including causes of extinction, food webs, and ecosystem services. This lesson is part of the Extinction Stinks! unit.
Students receive their target species and perform background research. Students learn about working with local populations to protect endangered species and read several conservation success stories. Students engage with two conservation storytellers and apply the power of storytelling to their target species. They then compare two grant proposals to prepare for writing their own proposals. This lesson is part of the Extinction Stinks! unit.
Students explore drivers of extinction across Earth’s major biomes, including human-to environment interactions that threaten biodiversity and seek solutions to mitigate habitat loss and prevent extinction. As a result, they develop research-based action steps critical to protecting a certain species and incorporate key findings into their culminating conservation pamphlets. This lesson is part of the Engaging in the Fight Against Extinction unit.
Students learn how human activity has impacted animal migration. They begin by watching a video of elk migration through Yellowstone National Park to understand what animal migration is, why elk migrate, how far they travel, and why humans should care. They then imagine themselves back in time and think about how they would adapt the land to better meet the evolving needs of their developing community. Finally, students learn more about specific ways people have altered the environment, explore one geographic area in the United States, and map the human activity in that region. This lesson is part of the Interrupted Migrations unit.
Students engage with a variety of resources to learn about ecosystems and the interactions among organisms in ecosystems, with a focus on elk migration in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Groups create a second map layer for their unit project that shows how their focal animal’s migration impacts its ecosystem. This lesson is part of the Detours and Distractions: How Humans Impact Migration Patterns unit.
Students will engage with photographs, videos, handouts, and animations to learn why and how animals migrate, methods used to track and map migrations, and how humans are impacting animal migration. Students use a variety of resources to research a focal animal in order to create a map layer showing its migration pattern, which is part of their unit project. This lesson is part of the Detours and Distractions: How Humans Impact Migration Patterns unit.
This lesson is part of a lesson series that addresses the concept of cities as urban ecosystems that include both nature and humans in a largely human-built environment. This lesson introduces some of the principles of ecology, including the definition of an ecosystem as a community of living organisms interacting with its non-living environment. Students will be introduced to the study of ecosystems and models that are used by urban ecologists. The class will be invited to visit websites to see where the cities are on the planet, and they will have a chance to try some hands-on urban nature education activities.
This is the second lesson in a series that addresses the concept of cities as urban ecosystems that include both nature and humans in a largely human-built environment. This lesson looks at the conditions that led to the development of early cities (i.e. food production), as well as some of the factors that caused the decline of early cities (i.e. unsustainable resource use). Students will visit a variety of online sites to see pictures and perform exercises. They will try to bring their learning back home again in the summary exercises that focus on their personal family histories and the history of their local urban ecosystems.
This is the third lesson in a series that addresses the concept of cities as urban ecosystems that include both nature and humans in a largely human-built environment. This lesson looks at the enormous increase in size and number of cities in the very recent past and the influence of fossil fuel use in particular on urbanization. In this lesson, students will visit a variety of websites that deal with urban population, fossil fuel consumption, and the signals (i.e., carbon dioxide emissions) that can be used to track population changes.
This is the fourth lesson in a series that addresses the concept of cities as urban ecosystems that include both nature and humans in a largely human-built environment. This lesson will show students that most of the materials and energy used by a city come from outside the city boundaries. Students will need to have at least a general working understanding of the concepts of flow (as in energy flow) and cycles (as in nutrient cycles) in order to get the most out of this lesson.
This is the last lesson in a series that addresses the concept of cities as urban ecosystems that include both nature and humans in a largely human-built environment. In this lesson, the class will learn about the concept of an ecological footprint. They will use an online ecological footprint calculator to compare the environmental impact of different levels of resource use, kinds of transportation, and similar factors. The second exercise will explore the natural world that exists in their community, no matter how urban it might be. Finally, they will brainstorm the qualities and characteristics of what they might consider an excellent, livable community.
In this lesson, students will use the Internet to explore relationships between habitats and species (specifically the gray wolf and those species with which it must coexist) as well as the effect of physical and human forces on living things and their environment. This investigation uses the conflict between ranchers and wolves to explore the relationships between living things and their environments and the effects of physical and human forces on the natural world.