Human Impact on Biodiversity

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SWBAT generate a list of methods used to maintain biodiversity and incorporate the method they feel is best into their final project.

Big Idea

Students gather information on the importance of biodiversity and what we can do to maintain it for the future.


5 minutes

The purpose of this lesson is for students to identify ways in which people can work to protect biodiversity.  In the "Google Age" where students are seconds away from any information they need, it is easy to allow students to find their own sources of information.  While I am a believer in this method more often than not, for this particular lesson I am going to supply students with the beginning sources to use.  

There are two reasons that I am restricting student resources (at least initially).  First, a Google search of "how do we maintain biodiversity" brings up a list of things that students can do in this regard.  Because I want students to develop their thinking/problem solving skills, I do not want the answer to this important question to be given in a format that allows students to blindly copy information without thinking and/or processing what they are reading.  Second, the resources I plan to give to students have additional information on why biodiversity is so important.  This builds on the prior lesson that allows students to take their learning further than just creating a list of actions.

I start by using the Maintaining Biodiversity PowerPoint in which students view a series of images and are asked the same question for each: How do you think this picture demonstrates people helping to maintain biodiversity?

I have the students discuss each image with their lab group to develop their best response. I ask two or three lab groups to share their responses for each slide; however, I do not comment on their answers other than to prompt them for more information if needed to ensure understanding of their ideas.  The goal of this, at this point, is to activate student thinking.  We will revisit this same PowerPoint in the wrap-up when I will convey what is occurring in each photograph.

This video demonstrates how I used this PowerPoint to help students take their learning deeper so they are able to really show what they know within their final project.  


35 minutes

Biodiversity and Importance of Biodiversity, both by cK-12, are the resources that I am providing students.  These web-based resources work best if your students have 1:1 devices (such as Chromebooks or tablets) but a computer lab is the next best thing.  If online access is not available, the articles can be printed and the videos can be viewed as a whole class or assigned as homework. 

My favorite aspects of the cK-12 resources are that the articles are easy for most students to read and they incorporate a lot of images and videos that elaborate on the written content.  Additionally, teachers can customize the articles, adding their own questions, videos and diagrams as desired. If needed, there are resources such as tldr, a Google App or Rewordify -- both change reading levels or shorten articles but proof read them.

No matter how students access this information, I use the Note-taking Sheet to help students organize their information.  The note-taking sheet is set up with three columns: headings from the reading, summary of information learned and questions/comments/connections.  I have been working hard with students to develop their ability to "wonder" things again and I try to incorporate this into as many activities as possible.  Students are familiar with 2 column notes from 7th grade, however it is still beneficial to model the strategy, as it is the first time we are using this method in class.

To model this I would select on of the articles (Biodiversity) and write the first heading.  In this case it is not really a heading but rather an important term that is used to open the section: Biodiversity.  I would then model how I read to pull out important information and how I put that into my own words in the chart.  Then I demonstrate making I wonder statements or connections and again copy these ideas into my chart.  I explain to students that while this method of note taking does take more time, it is worth it in the end because the learning is remembered longer because of how the information is processed at a deeper level.  See the Modeling Example to see the information I used to show the students.

When students complete their note taking they are asked to complete the last section of information they need for their final project that requires the following:

  • Explain why maintaining biodiversity is important to the health of an ecosystem
  • Develop suggestions for maintaining biodiversity

The students will have 2-3 days to complete this as well as to put the finishing touches on their spider biodiversity project and get it ready to turn in for grading.


5 minutes

Now that students have had some time to develop their own ideas, I again go through the Maintaining Biodiversity PowerPoint.  This time I explain what each image is showing and how it helps support and maintain biodiversity.  The notes section of the PowerPoint has the information needed for each picture.