Save An Endangered Species

By Suzanne Robinson, November 29, 2009

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • Product Design

Subject Area

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Lesson Time

Five 50 Minute Class Periods


Students will work with a partner to research an endangered species of their choice.  They will use what they have discovered about that species to brainstorm ways to save it from extinction.  They will design one solution to the problem and create an advertisement highlighting it.  Finally, they will create a three-dimensional model to present the solution to the rest of the class.

National Standards

Language Arts Reading Level II, Standard 5: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process 2. Establishes a purpose for reading (e.g., for information, for pleasure, to understand a specific viewpoint)

Level II, Standard 7: Uses skills and strategies to read a variety of informational texts

1. Reads a variety of informational texts (e.g., textbooks, biographical sketches, letters, diaries, directions, procedures, magazines)

2. Knows the defining characteristics (e.g., how ideas are developed and structured within paragraphs, chapters, and sections) of a variety of informational texts.

3.  Uses text organizers (e.g., headings, topic and summary sentences, graphic features, typeface, chapter titles) to determine the main ideas and to locate information in a text

6. Uses prior knowledge and experience to understand and respond to new information


Standard 1. Level II. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

3.  Editing and Publishing: Uses strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., edits for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling at a developmentally appropriate level; uses reference materials; excludes extraneous details and inconsistencies; selects presentation format according to purpose; uses available technology to publish work)

6. Uses strategies (e.g., adapts focus, point of view, organization, form) to write for a variety of purposes (e.g., to inform, entertain, explain, describe, record ideas)

Listening and Speaking

Standard 8. Level II. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

1. Makes contributions in class and group discussions (e.g., reports on ideas and personal knowledge about a topic, initiates conversations, connects ideas and experiences with those of others)

5. Uses strategies to convey a clear main point when speaking (e.g., expresses ideas in a logical manner, uses specific vocabulary to establish tone and present information

Science: Life Sciences

Standard 6. Level II. Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment

3. Knows that an organism’s patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism’s environment (e.g., kinds and numbers of other organisms present, availability of food and resources, physical characteristics of the environment)

4. Knows that changes in the environment can have different effects on different organisms (e.g., some organisms move in, others move out; some organisms survive and reproduce, others die)

5. Knows that all organisms (including humans) cause changes in their environments, and these changes can be beneficial or detrimental


Students will:
  • be able to access the resources needed to successfully research a topic
  • gain a better understanding of how a species becomes endangered
  • brainstorm ways to help save a species, Using information located during their research
  • present information
  • determine whether specific Web sites are comprehensive enough to be used in their research
  • list at least three ways a species becomes endangered
  • list at least three ways an endangered species can be saved from extinction
  • create an advertisement that demonstrates one way to help save an endangered species
  • follow the steps in the design process in order to design a solution to the problem
  • create a three dimensional model of the solution




(Note: Book selections should be based on student choices.  The following are only suggestions.)

Endangered Animals by John Bonnet Wexo

The Best Book of Endangered and Extinct Animals by Christiane Gunzi

Endangered Rhinoceros by Bobbie Kalman

Almost Gone: the World’s Rarest Animals by Steve Jenkins

Florida Manatee by Rod Theodorou

Endangered: Wildlife on the Brink of Extinction by George C. McGavin

Endangered Animals (True Books: Environment) by Rhonda Lucus Donald

The Atlas of Endangered Species by Richard Mackay

Can We Save Them by David Dobson

Almost Gone: The World’s Rarest Animals by Steve Jenkins


  • handout
  • advertisement sample
  •  poster board
  •  paper
  •  pencils
  •  glue
  •  construction paper
  • modeling clay
  • wooden craft sticks
  • fabric scraps
  • scissors
  • string
  • ribbon
  • tape
  • paper towel rolls
  • cardstock
  • glitter glue
  • pompoms
  • stapler


  • endangered species: a species threatened with extinction
  • extinct: no longer existing
  • species: a class of individuals having common attributes and designated by a common name


Session 1:

1. Display a slide show of pictures of several animals on the SmartBoard. Ask students if these animals have anything in common.

2. After it is revealed that all of the animals are endangered, have students turn and talk to a partner and complete the following sentence in their notebook: An endangered species is...

3. After several students share their completed sentence, elicit and record a clear definition.

4. Discuss briefly any concepts that students have learned in science about extinct or endangered animals.

5. Explain to students that they will work with a partner to learn more about a species of their choice.  They will research their chosen species to find out:

  • at least three ways the particular species could have become endangered
  • at least three ways the species could be saved from becoming extinct

6. They will then:

  • create an advertisement that demonstrates a way to help save the endangered species
  • design a three dimensional solution to the problem

7. Display and discuss the information from the following Web site:

8. Give each student a handout.  Put them in pairs.

9. Display and briefly discuss each bookmarked Web site that students will use to do their research.

10. Allow the students to use the rest of the period to explore the Web sites and decide on a species they would like to research.

Session 2:

1. Seat students according to who they are working with.

2. Model the process of exploring a Web site to determine if the information it contains is appropriate to answer the question at hand.

3. Make sure students are aware of the selection of endangered animal books that have been selected and made available for their use.

4. Distribute and explain the handout that students will use to record information about their animal. They will move to the computers and have the remainder of the period to gather information.

5. Students will come together as a group to share what they learned.

6. Explain to students that during the next class session they will work with their partner to design one solution which will help to save their endangered species. They will create an advertisement that will demonstrate the solution.

7. Collect the handouts.

Session 3:

1. Return the handouts to the students and explain that they will discuss with their partner, the solutions they recorded during the last class session.  They will then identify and agree on one solution idea that has the most potential. They will develop it through sketches, diagramming, etc. This will be the solution that they will create an advertisement about.

2. Display a sample advertisement and remind students about the purpose of advertisements.

3. Students will use a good portion of the period to work on their advertisements.

4. Pairs will then take turns presenting their advertisement to another group and receiving feedback on their ideas.

5. Explain to students that they will use the next class session to consider the feedback they received to make any necessary revisions to their solution ideas.  They will then work with their partner to create a three-dimensional model of the solution.

Session 4:

1. Give students the opportunity to discuss and revise their solution ideas with their partner.

2. Explain to them that today they will work with their partner to create a model of the solution that they designed.

3. Gather students near the supply table where all of the materials are set up.  They will take turns gathering the materials that they would like to use to create their model.

4. They will have the rest of the period to work on their models.

5. Allow time for cleanup.

6. Inform students that any group needing more time to complete their project will rec eive it during the next few days.

7.  Set a date for presentations of completed models.

Session 5:

1. Groups will take turns presenting their models. Their presentations will include what they learned about their endangered species and a clear explanation of how the design solution will help to save the species from becoming extinct.

2. Time will be given for student questions and comments.


Observation of students' ability to use research skills to access suggested resources and extract accurate information from the web sites.

Completed handouts will demonstrate students’ understanding of how a species becomes endangered.

Advertisement will indicate students’ understanding of ways to help save a species.

Presentation of completed model will show students’ understanding of the design process.

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