After finishing the Eclipse Festival, the intermediate students brainstormed a 'wishlist' of science and social studies topics that they wanted to study next. They voted and narrowed it down to two choices: government or endangered species.
Before the deciding vote, the students that suggested each topic stood up and gave a small speech in defense of choosing that topic. In the end, endangered species was selected because they liked that it had the social responsibility aspect as well as learning about the biology of the animals.
Students selected an endangered species to research. In addition to learning about the animal, they also learned about their ecosystems, adaptations it has made to help it survive, reasons it has become endangered, and how we can help protect it.
Students conducted research and wrote research books using multiple sources and created biomes of their animals' ecosystems.
They prepared presentations for the primary students. In their presentations, they needed to introduce the scientific name, explain the habitat/ecosystem, describe their animal's food chain, and discuss why they are endangered and how we can help.
On Presentation Day, the animals were grouped according to their habitat. wolverines and gray wolves live in the forest.
Red pandas, bonobos, South China tigers, black-headed spider monkeys, white tiger, and leopards live in the rainforest.
Otters are marine animals and megaladons were marine animals (they are extinct).
Black-footed ferrets live in the grasslands. (This student brought in her pet ferret as well!)
Snow leopards live in the cold tundra.
To begin the presentations, a few students introduced the concept of endangered species to the primary students and then the presentations began!
As part of the social aspect of this unit, the students developed and presented practical ways to help protect animals, both endangered and not.
Following the presentations, the primary students walked around to each animal biome to fill in a fun fact about each animal on their handout.
To conclude this unit, the intermediate students chose a school-wide effort to help protect an animal.
We learned about a program through the Cincinnati Zoo in which cell phones are collected to help save gorillas. Cell phones contain an ore called Coltan that is mined in endangered gorilla habitat in Africa. By collecting and donating cell phones, Coltan can be extracted and recycled to prevent further habitat destruction.
For the next several months, we will be collecting old cell phones and will be looking for opportunities to expand that effort into the community as well.