What do we know about endangered species? If we think about it for a moment, many will agree that we actually don’t know that much about this important topic. So, how can we teach our kids and students about endangered species?
In this post, I will share three fun and educational tools that will help your students discover and learn more about these species.
As not all of our classrooms are as equally technology-enabled yet, I have picked a web tool and two apps, one for Android and the other for iOS. Let’s start with the web tool.
1. Interactive Guide: 100 Most Endangered Species in the World
BestCollegesOnline created an interactive tool that let’s you discover the 100 most endangered species in the world. As the term species suggests, you can search for more than just animals, with results also including plants and fungi.
This tool allows a variety of ways to navigate. You can scroll the top 100. If you click a profile, you will get more information on the respective species.
You can filter results by category such as “air and sea” or “mammal” and also by habitat to explore where these creatures live on a world map
Of course, you will find familiar animals like the Galapagos giant tortoise or the giant panda on the list, but it is equally fascinating to learn more about some of the lesser known species.
Let your students guess which animal(s) they think are the most-at-risk before you start using the tools in class. What do your students already know about these creatures?Where do they live? What do they eat? And why are they endangered?
2. The Species Finder
The Endangered Species Finder is a free Android app that takes a local approach. Using your smartphone’s GPS, it helps you and your students discover the endangered species around you.
The app has over 1000 threatened and endangered animals and plants available. With each plant or animal comes more information and also how to help prevent their extinction. It has been developed by the Center for Biological Diversity which is in itself a great resource site on the topic.
The Species Finder can be a great app to enhance the classroom experience. If your classroom is BYOD enabled, it can also be a great addition on a field or class trip.
3. WWF Together iPad App
My last pick is the WWF app “Together” for iPad. It currently offers the smallest selection of creatures to explore compared with the two others as it started off with only eight animal portraits. However, the plan is to regularly add new animals.
Although the selection is still relatively small, the WWF app uses the full potential of the iPad offering video, pictures, sound and facts. People seem to be particularly engaged by the origami feature that let’s you recreate the animal portraits through the Japanese folding art.
Using the origami feature might be a great way to use the app with your students and unleash their creative potential. You could either let them work on different animal portraits or on the same. They can share and compare their results later and discuss them with you.
What apps, sites or tools are you using to help your class understand endangered species? Share your best resources in the comments below!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Steve Wilson.