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Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10



Environmental Education Volume

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Chapter 1

Endangered Species

Classroom Applications

Preliminary Lesson Planning

Materials Preparation:

  • Prepare and duplicate an Endangered Species Summary Sheet listing the names of 4-6 endangered species, as in the sample provided in Appendix B. (Note: The activity will be more meaningful to students if you include an endangered species from their country.) Make enough copies of the Summary Sheet to give one to each student.
  • Prepare a set of 4-6 Case Histories, one for each of the species listed on the Summary Sheet. A sample set of Case Histories is provided in Appendix C. Duplicate enough copies of the set of Case Histories to give an individual Case History to each pair of students in the class.

Vocabulary Considerations:

Before using the Endangered Species Summary Sheet and the Case Histories in class, consider what vocabulary students will need to know to carry out the lesson successfully. Determine which vocabulary items the students are already familiar with and which items will be new for them. Some important terms and their definitions are included in the glossary in Appendix A.

Warm Up Activity (approximately 5 minutes)

  • To stimulate students' interest in the topic of endangered animal species
  • To activate students' background knowledge
  • To introduce students to vocabulary that will help them to successfully complete the lesson

    1. Write the phrase endangered species on the board, and ask students what they think the phrase means.
    2. As student volunteers give their answers, write key words from their responses on the board. If students are unfamiliar with the concept of endangered species, be prepared to provide the class with relevant information (see Background Information at the beginning of this chapter), adding words to the board as you introduce key ideas.
    3. Ask students if they can name some of the reasons animals and plants become endangered. As volunteers suggest different reasons, list their answers on the board.

      (Note: Do not erase the board. You will come back to it at the conclusion of the lesson.)

Activity #1 (approximately 25 minutes)


  • To have students explore some of the reasons that plant and animal species become endangered
  • To allow students to practice reading, note-taking, speaking, and listening in a meaningful way
  • To give students the opportunity to use key vocabulary and concepts associated with the theme of the lesson


  1. Distribute the Endangered Species Summary Sheet, giving one to each student. Tell the students that they are going to learn about the endangered species listed on the sheet and the problems each species is facing.
  2. Put students into pairs, and give one Case History to each pair of students.
  3. Explain the task to the students. They are to work in pairs, using the information in the Case History to find the information they need to fill in the required information about their assigned species. Explain that they are to take down the information in the form of brief notes.
  4. Have pairs of students read the Case Histories and make notes in the appropriate boxes on the Endangered Species Summary Form.
  5. Have pairs take turns giving their "summary reports" to the class. As students listen, they attempt to complete their charts with the information being reported. Encourage students to ask for repetition and clarification if necessary.

Activity #2 (approximately 15 minutes)


  • To provide students with opportunities to use English in a meaningful way
  • To reinforce key concepts and vocabulary associated with the theme of endangered species
  • To give students the opportunity to be successful in English by asking them to report information discussed earlier with classmates


  1. Tell the students to put their Case Histories away. Explain that they are to going to have a class discussion, and they should use the notes they made on the Summary Sheets to answer the questions.
  2. Conduct a whole-class discussion centering on the following questions:
    • What animals are a big threat to kagus? (Dogs, pigs, cats, and rats that humans have brought to New Caledonia)
    • How do these animals harm kagus? (They eat kagus and their eggs.)
    • Which species are endangered because people like to collect them? (Black lace cactus, Manus Island tree snail, Karner blue butterfly)
    • What are some of the problems that have caused leatherback sea turtles to become endangered? (loss of nesting habitats; fishing; hunting)
    • What is the main reason that Asian elephants are in trouble? (Habit destruction: there is nowhere left for them to go to find food.)
    • Which species are in trouble because of habit destruction? (All of them. Most endangered species experience some form of habit destruction.)
    • From what you know about these species, are most animals and plants endangered because of only one reason, or because of a number of reasons? (Most species are endangered for a number of reasons.)


Cool Down Activity (approximately 10 minutes)


  • To conclude the lesson
  • To give students an opportunity to discuss the relevance of lesson


  1. Ask the students to once again name some reasons that plant and animal species become endangered.
  2. As volunteers provide answers, write them on the board.
  3. When all volunteers have finished giving their answers, ask the class to compare this second list with the one they made at the start of the lesson. Ask students to comment on how this list is similar or different to the one they made earlier. What new information did they learn about endangered species?
  4. Wrap up the lesson by asking students if they can name the main reason why plant and animal species become endangered. (Habitat destruction is by far the biggest problem that animals and plants face today.)

Possible Extensions to the Lesson

1. Have students research another endangered species and write a paragraph or two about the particular animal or plant and why it is endangered.

2. Have students do a mini-survey on endangered species. Students should interview ten people, asking them to name five endangered species. Students should also ask interviewees to specify what action, if any, they think should be taken to save endangered species. Students summarize their findings in a one-page written report, indicating whether there was any consistency among the interviewees' answers.

3. Ask groups of students to select an endangered species. Groups work together to plan presentations about the species they have selected. This can be done in the form of a poems, posters, skits, or songs.

Refer to the web sites listed in the next section of this chapter for more information and lesson planning ideas.

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Table of Contents About the Author Preface Appendix Bibliography Internet Resources Classroom Applications Background
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