WebQuest: Endangered Species
Did you know that about 2,000 species of animals are considered endangered? There’s a lot to learn about these animals, so let’s let students discover more about them on the web. Before you begin, you may need to explain what ‘endangered’ means, as well as related words like ‘threatened’ or ‘extinct’.
Claim 3 Species
Each student should do this project for 3 species. Each should be of a different type (mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, etc.). Since there are so many to choose from, students should have some idea of what they’re looking for before the start browsing a list. Perhaps they should first write down about ten animals (or animal families) that are not common pets. Next, search the internet to see if there the endangered species list includes the animals they wrote down. For example, if a student is a fan of lions, she can search for ‘endangered lions’; if nothing shows up, she can search for ‘endangered big cats’; if still nothing, move on to the next animal in the list.
Alternately, they can look at pictures of endangered animals and pick one that looks the most interesting to them.
Once students have found what they were looking for, they’ll need to make a note of the exact name of that species (for example, not ‘tiger’, but ‘Bengal Tiger’ or ‘Panthera Tigris Tigris’).
Basic Animal Facts
Now that students have their three species, they should compile ten basic facts about each one. Such facts may include (but are not limited to):
abilities (swimming? flying?)
These facts should be specific. For example, for size you might include the number of millimeters the average one is in length, or the minimum and maximum height, or how much the average weighs, etc.
Next, students need to answer each of the following questions:
Why are these creatures endangered?
How many are left in the world?
Are they kept in preserves? in zoos?
What is being done to protect them?
How might their disappearance affect their ecology?
After the students have compiled all the facts for each of their three species, they should now search for what they can do to help endangered species. (If they can find details for the specific animals they’ve chosen, that’s great! Otherwise, endangered species in general is fine.) Write down two or three things they can do.
As usual, students should present all the information that they’ve collected, perhaps by making a poster or maybe by talking about the project in front of the class - it’s up to you.