Students will read a recent science news article and discuss the content.
Depending the on the article, students may be asked to draw connections to current events or other classroom exercises.
Depending on the article, one of these standards may be most appropriate:
Subject Area - 1: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening
Standard Area - 1.3: Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature - Fiction and Non-Fiction
Grade Level - 1.3.6: GRADE 6
Standard - 1.3.6.A: Read, understand, and respond to works from various genres of literature
Assessment Anchor - R6.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.
Preparation Time Needed
<30 minutes, enough time to read the article and associated questions, answer the questions, and possibly come up with more that are relevant to recent class exercises.
(Part of the PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.)
In 2011, the world has seen the loss of some mammals through species extinction. The Western Black Rhino and Eastern Cougar no longer roam the planet, and an entire genus of African antelope is on the verge of extinction. Why is this happening? What can be done?
Articles to Share with Students
- National Geographic News – Entire Mammal Genus on Brink of Extinction
- CNN.com – Western Black Rhino Declared Extinct
- NPR AUDIO: Fish and Wildlife Service: Eastern Cougar’s Extinct
- BBC VIDEO: IUCN: Quarter of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction
- The Encyclopedia of Earth – Causes of Extinction
- ARKive – Discover the World’s Most Endangered Species
- New York Times Topics – Endangered and Extinct Species
Questions for Classroom Discussion
- What does it mean for a species to be extinct?
- What is the IUCN? What is The Red List?
- What is the difference between a genus and a species?
- What are some of the causes for species to go extinct?
- Can we stop mammal species from going extinct? What are your thoughts?
- What do you think will be the impacts on the biosphere of planet Earth if mammal species continue to go extinct?
- Do you think humans should protect endangered animals or allow them to go extinct? Why/why not?
- If you were allowed to save three mammals from the endangered species list so they would not go extinct, which animals would you choose and why?
Compiled November 12, 2011, by L.A. Guertin. Teachers are encouraged to search for more recent articles and related discoveries.