Give us the facts!
By: Angie Pickett
It is year 2075 and our natural resources, such as gas, oil, and lumber, are harder to locate and, in some instances, are becoming scarce. There is a push from big businesses, such as gas, oil and lumber companies, to loosen environmental laws that would help allow these companies to enter protected areas. These laws were put into place to protect fish, wildlife, and plants that are listed as threatened or endangered. If these laws were not in place, then companies could do as they pleased with the unprotected land. For example, they could drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge or cut down all of the trees in a rainforest. Several nations will be holding a meeting in order to make a decision on what they should do about the current environmental laws. They need your help! You will be working with a team of four people and have been hired as researchers. Your group's job is to research a threatened and an endangered specie. You will then develop an information board and a short presentation about your findings. You will also make a suggestion about our current environmental laws.
Grade 3 - 4
National Science Education Standards, Standard 3, Physical Science, grades Pre-K-4: Science subject matter focuses on the science facts, concepts, principles, theories, and models that are important for all students to know, understand, and use - Characteristics of organisms, Life cycles of organisms, Organisms and environments.
The purpose of this WebQuest is to help the students understand why species in our world become threatened, endangered, and eventually, extinct. They students will be able to see evidence of this happening, explain why, and explain what can be done to prevent a species from becoming extinct.
Prior to the WebQuest activity, the students will be introduced to environmental issues that our world faces today. The teacher will discuss basic terminology that the students will encounter on their quest and introduce several species that are on the endangered list. The teacher will also discuss the difference between thriving, threatened, endangered and extinct species.
Following this activity, the students will continue studying environmental issues. The teacher will introduce ways that they can help locally. The students will write a letter to their local newspaper explaining their opinion on environmental laws and why they should or should not be changed.
This activity will help the students gain knowledge about threatened and endangered species. The students will begin to understand how their everyday actions can make a difference in the environment. This activity will also help improve the student's research skills and critical thinking skills, and how to work in a team environment.
This WebQuest could be expanded by having the students research a thriving specie and explain why it is thriving versus a threatened or endangered specie. This WebQuest could also be expanded by adding a scavenger hunt that would include such items as environmental issues, ways to help the environment, and interesting facts about different species.
Each group will research a threatened and a endangered specie. Your group needs to decide what two species you will be researching. Each member in the group will help with the research and answer several questions about their species. Each member of the group will also help in preparing an information board and participate in an oral report. The information board should include facts about each specie, a picture of the species, and the group suggestion on change to the current environmental laws, if any.
For Each Group to Answer
1. What is the name of your specie?
2. What is the scientific name of your specie?
3. Tell us what your specie looks like.
4. What part of the world does it live in?
5. What does it need to survive?
6. If it is a animal, does it come out during the day or at night?
7. What does it eat?
8. Does it have any enemies?
9. What are its breeding habits?
10. How does it protect itself?
11. Should our current environmental laws be changed? Why or why not?
Threatened: Why is this specie considered a threatened specie? What are we doing to protect it? Can anything else be done? Do you think it will become extinct? Why or why not?
Endangered: Why is this specie considered endangered? What are we doing to protect it? Can anything else be done? Do you think it will become extinct? Why or why not?
After your group has researched its specie, it is now time to put it alltogether. First, prepare your information board. Remember, when making your information board, be creative. You can do this by making your information board colorful; include lots of pictures or drawings, but do not forget to include the facts.
Your next step will be to prepare for your oral presentation. As a group, you will need to decide what each person is going to say. Remember, everyone has to participate in the group presentation. We will have a practice session during class. In order to do a good job you will also need to practice on your own. You can do this by practicing at home with a family member.
Where and How to Start
1. Your group members will meet and decide how you are going to research your two species. Remember, all four group members should be involved in the research process. You may choose your species however you like. If you are having problems deciding or finding a species to research Click here for suggestions. Once you start your research, you will need to keep track of all the information you gather in your specie folder. Each group will find a specie folder at their group workstation.
2. Once you have chosen your specie, you will need to begin your research on the Internet. Don't forget that you will need to keep track of where you find your information. For the Internet, you will need to write down the web address.
3. Once you have finished gathering your information, your group will begin working on the information board.
4. After your group has completed the information board, the group will need to get together and write a rough draft of what each person will say in the group presentation. This will be handed in to the teacher. The teacher will read the rough draft and then make suggestions on how you might want to enhance your presentation.
5. At home, each person will practice their part of the presentation.
6. A practice session will be held in class.
7. Each group will present their information board and oral presentation on parent/teacher night.
Resources Here are some Internet sites that will help you find information on your specie:
|For a photo of your species: Click here|
|For general information about your species: Click here|
|This is a good site for threatened or endangered species: Click here|
|This is also a good site for threatened or endangered species. You will find lots of interesting facts about your specie plus additional web-sites just for your specie: Click here|
|Pictures, facts about your species: Click here|
|This sites talks about species survival plan and the species that are part of the plan: Click here|
|Causes of threatened and endangered species and ways we can help: Click here|
|Threatened, endangered, and sensitive species profiles: Click here|
|Different species and conservation: Click here|
|Species Act of 1973. This link is about this act that congress passed in 1973: Click here|
|Evaluation||Excellent 4||Good 3||Average 2||Did Not Complete 1|
Group completes information board and oral presentation, rough draft turned in.
Completes both assignments on the day that
they are due and hands them in.
Both assignments handed in but a few details
still needed to be added for project to be completed.
|Is late with both assignments.||Never completes project.|
|Group presents an informative oral presentation.||Presentation is informative and well-prepared. All information is covered plus more details are added.||Completes presentation. All information is covered.||Completes presentation but does not cover all information.||Does not complete oral presentation.|
|Group hands in specie folder with specie notes and all assignments completed.||Specie folder is turned in and completed on time. All questions answered. Folder is in order and neat.||Specie folder is turned in but questions left unanswered.||Assignments missing. Messy folder.||Assignments missing. Unreadable folder.|
|Information board is informative and instructions were followed.||Provided more information than requested on information board. All instructions were followed.||All information was provided and all instructions were followed.||Some information was not provided and all instructions were not followed.||Does not complete information board.|
Congratulations! You have worked very hard and have completed your WebQuest. In the process, you have learned a great deal about our environment, and threatened and endangered species. I hope you had fun on your journey. You are now an expert on the specie you researched.
American Zoo and Aquarium Association. (2003). The American zoo and aquarium association. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from http://www.aza.org
Busch Entertainment Corporation. (2003). Sea world busch gardens animal information database. Retrieved
March 29, 2003, from http://www.seaworld.org
Environmental Protection Agency. (2002). Environmental explorer's club. Retrieved March 29, 2003
Grsites.com. (1997). Absolute web graphics archive. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. (2002). The IUCN red list of threatened species. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from http://www.red.list.org
Kurpis, L. (1997). Endangered specie.com. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
Nashville Zoo. (2002). Nashville zoo at grassmere. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
National Wildlife Federation. (1996). National Wildlife Federation for kids. Retrieved March 29, 2003,
123spot. (1999). Free animal clipart@123spot. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
Rasmussen, M. & Wheadon, L. (2001). Wildlife's last resort. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
SERDP. (1997). Threatened, endangered and sensitive species profile. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2001). The Species Act of 1973. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from
Wildlife Trust. (2000). The wild ones. Retrieved March 29, 2003, from http://www.thewildones.org/