Predator's Predicament

Predator's Predicament lesson plan

Personalize the plight of an endangered animal with a powerful portrait.

  • 1.

    Extinction occurs naturally when an animal's environment changes too fast. Today the natural environments of many endangered species are changing because of humans. Animals are put on the endangered species list when there is an immediate danger that they will become extinct if something is not done to save them.

  • 2.

    Big cats on the endangered species list include the Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, jaguar, snow leopard, clouded leopard, and ocelot. These cats are some of the most powerful animals in the world. Their existence is seriously threatened by poachers. There are only 400 or 500 Siberian tigers and perhaps 4,000 Bengal tigers in the wild today. Research other reasons why these animals are endangered, such as drought, development, and destruction of the rain forest. Study these creatures in more depth, and note details about their faces and markings.

  • 3.

    Cover your work space with newspaper. With Crayola® Watercolors and Watercolor Brushes, paint a powerful portrait of one of these animals. How can your painting tell the story of the big cat's future? Dry flat.


  • LA: Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • MATH: Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories.
  • SCI: Observe and compare the many kinds of living things that are found in different areas.
  • SCI: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information describing the impacts human activities has on Earth’s systems and generate examples of actions individuals and communities have taken to conserve Earth’s resources and environments.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #26: Pandas and Other Endangered Species by Mary Pope Osbourne & Natalie Pope Boyce; Endangered Animals Of The Rain Forest by Ken Hansen; The Best Book of Endangered and Extinct Animals by Christiane Gunzi
  • Invite an environmental expert to speak with the class about endangered species. Prior to the meeting, students compose questions for the expert. After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.
  • Students form a small group to campaign for the protection of a particular endangered species. The group creates a commercial promoting the protection of their endangered specimen. Students videotape their commercial and post it to a classroom computer for future viewing.