In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about extinction and endangered species. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Extinct and Endangered Species topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Extinct and Endangered Species
Adopt an Endangered Species
Together with the class, choose an endangered species to adopt. You can look on websites of the Nature Conservancy or the World Wildlife Fund or even visit your local zoo to learn about different endangered plants and animals. You can also look at your states’ endangered plants and animals list to find out what you can do to help protect species close to home. Have students learn how the animal’s habitat became threatened, and discover if that can be changed. Track the progress of the plant or animal and find ways to raise awareness in the whole school or community, such as a poster campaign or a fundraiser.
Remind students that living things need safe, clean places in order to live. If possible, organize a clean-up day at a park, beach, or piece of public land. Students can pick up items of litter and later research how long these items would have taken to biodegrade. Let students learn about the damage that everyday items, such as plastic bags, can do to soil, plants, and water. Many communities organize an annual day to improve neighborhoods. Participate in a local event and help children understand the importance of maintaining a safe and clean environment for all living things.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Extinct and Endangered Species
If possible, visit your local zoo or aquarium. Explore different animals and discuss a few, pointing out adaptations and behavioral characteristics. Pose questions about human impact. How might ocean animals be affected by fishing nets, oil spills, or water pollution? Many zoos offer tours or sessions that focus on endangered species or conservation efforts. Talk to your child about what he or she can do to protect endangered species.
Find out what species of plant and animal are endangered in your community or state. Research together and learn how they became endangered and how you can protect them. Write letters to your representative or other government leader to urge them to set aside land for reserves, support conservation legislation, and develop ways to promote initiatives that will help endangered species.