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Predator's Predicament

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

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    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. Working in small groups, students investigate a selected animal currently on the endangered species list. Provide access to a variety of text and electronic resources for this task.
    2. When research is complete, provide time for students to organize their learning into a presentation for classmates. To accompany the presentation, each group will create a watercolor painting.
    3. Students cover their work space with recycled newspaper. With Crayola® Watercolors, students paint a portrait of one of these animals. Encourage them to think about how the painting can tell the story of the animal's future. Dry flat.
    4. Allow time for each group to conduct their presentation either to small groups of students or in a whole class situation.
  • Standards

    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.

  • Adaptations

    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.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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