What is biodiversity? Biodiversity the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem. Today, we’ll explore this topic some more with a activity perfect for students in 6th to 8th grade. Students will explore our online exhibit titled Biodiversity at Risk to learn about how different organisms are at risk of extinction.
Grade Range (suggested): 6-8
- Student worksheet (linked below)
- CAS/PNNM Google Arts and Culture Online Exhibit: Biodiversity at Risk
- Ask students to access the Chicago Academy of Sciences/Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Online Exhibit: Biodiversity at Risk.
Prepare to Explore
- Have students navigate to the online exhibit and explore by looking at the photographs of the specimens featured in the exhibit. Ask students what they notice or wonder.
- Have students choose three specimens to focus on.
- For each, have students look closely at the image and learn as much as they can about the organism from the photograph. Have students record their observations in column 1 and 2. (Looking at the body parts or coverings of the specimen may help students understand the habitat the specimen is from, or building from prior knowledge what kinds of food it might eat).
- Then, have students read the short paragraph under the photograph to learn about why the organism is at risk for extinction, or puts other organisms at risk, and record in column 3.
- Repeat for the other two specimens.
Reflect & Share
- Ask students to compare and contrast the three specimens they chose. Are there any similarities or differences in any of the categories they recorded information?
- Ask students to pick one of the organisms they learned about, and brainstorm one way that humans can help reduce the risk of extinction for that organism. Have the students share and explain their idea to someone else.
Extensions & Variations
Have students explore other specimens from our collection through our Google Arts and Culture page to learn more about how collections are used and spark interest in learning about other organisms!