While endangered species is a theme taught in elementary schools, oftentimes these lessons are missing a fundamental idea: teaching kids that we are all connected! Our actions in one part of the world affect humans, animals, and plants around the world. I recently created a whole series of activities aimed to teach just that. By emphasizing how we are all connected, the activities the “Endangered Primates Unit” will have a lasting impact on students, empowering kids as they learn that they truly can make a positive difference in the world. Kids not only learn about endangered species, but focus on taking action and spreading awareness to others.
While the activities in the “Endangered Primates Unit” are geared toward 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students, educators can adapt them for other age levels. Yes, the activities are aligned with common core standards! Most importantly: my kids loved the activities!
In this exciting unit, kids learn about endangered species from a variety of sources and media:
- doing hands-on activities
- reading scientific, nonfiction passages
- listening to powerpoint presentations
- watching short videos
- reading on-line databases and doing webquests
- giving and listening to student reports.
This 69 page unit includes:
– Introduction to Endangered Primates
– Common Core Standards
– Power Point Presentation to Introduce Unit
– 3 Separate Science Informational Reading Exercises: Roloway Monkey, Silky Sifaka, Cotton-Top Tamarin
– Info Grids to be Used with Readings (plus answer key)
– Group Presentations on Readings
– Problem-to-Action Power Point Presentation
– Problem-to-Action Visual Organizer/Activity
– Problem-to-Action Activity Teacher’s Guide
– Detailed Coloring Sheets on 3 Primates
– Take Action! Poster Activity
– Endangered Primate Mask Templates
– Alphabetical Order Activity with Key Science Terms (plus answer key)
– Science Career Path Matching Game (plus answer key)
– Endangered Species Word Problem Worksheet (plus answer key)
– Estimating Fun! Math Worksheets (Numerical and Word Problems related to endangered species; plus answer key)
– Endangered Species/Environmental Journal Prompts Printable
– What Makes a Primate? Handwriting Sheets
– Endangered Animal WebQuest
– Mapping Endangered Primates Geography Activity
– Mapping Endangered Primates Geography Activity Answer Key
Part 1: Introducing 3 Endangered Primates
Students will be introduced to endangered species and 3 specific endangered primates with vocabulary and concepts in the above power point.
Part 2: Endangered Species Reading Passages
The teacher divides students into three groups, and assigns them each to one of the endangered primates. Each group receives the information text about their primate, plus one copy of the “Endangered Primate Info Grid” (visual organizer) to fill out together about their primate:
- Silky Sifaka Lemur
- Roloway Monkey
- Cotton-Top Tamarin
Part 3: Presentations
Using the information from their reading, plus the following short videos for research, students will create a 5 minute presentation to the class highlighting their endangered species. As they present to the class, the students in the audience will fill in the Info Grid with the missing information.
Part 4: Identify the Problem: Take Action!
An important aspect of global education is to have kids identify problems and then think of solutions to take action. Students will participate in a Problem-to-Action activity with a power point and brainstorming worksheet focusing on deforestation and preventing extinction of endangered species. We have a nice power point and visual organizer to help kids identify the causes and effects of our actions related to our planet (problem–reason–action).
Part 5: Putting “Art” in STEAM
Using out adorable templates, students will make masks of the 3 endangered primates in this unit. We also have some detailed coloring sheets of the 3 endangered primates in this unit (that can be colored and used in the last section).
Part 5: ELA Activities, with Endangered Species Theme
- Put the Science Vocabulary from this unit in alphabetical order
- Use a dictionary to understand important science and environmental careers that work together to protect endangered species
- Practice writing persuasive and narrative writing in endangered species-themed journal prompts
- Learn more about characteristics common in primates through a series of handwriting practice sheets (cursive)
- Research on-line to complete a web quest about the endangered species of their choice (excellent extension activities included!)
Part 6: Math & Geography Activities, with Endangered Species Theme
- Math word problems related to the science of protecting and observing endangered species
- Estimating to solve multi-digit quotients and dividends, and then using these estimations to solve word problems
- Use geography skills to follow directions, labeling a world map with key concepts, locations related to the endangered species in this unit, and other important information
Part 7: Take Action!
After such deep learning about endangered species and dissecting the threats and possible solutions, students make “Take Action” posters to spread awareness around their school or community, using the knowledge they’ve learned.
I absolutely LOVE this unit and everything it has to offer young scientists. An interdisciplinary lesson, focusing on global issues, that helps kids take action!
Learn about endangered species in your classroom or home!