Monday, September 13, 2010

Endangered Species List

We are doing the Montessori 1st and 2nd Great Lessons (how the earth & universe came to be, how life on earth came to be) as well as Creation stories from many different cultures.

One of these Creation stories we are studying is the Biblical one. My resources for this include The Dreamerby Cynthia Rylant and Legends of the Bibleby Rabbi Louis Ginzberg (recommended by Live Education! as an important resource for Grade 3 & I wholeheartedly agree).

I tied this lesson into Peace One Day which we will celebrate as a school next week with a school-wide parade. Ever class is creating flags for the procession. Our theme will be endangered animals. Saving (or at the very least being aware of) endangered species is a valuable contribution to Peace around the world. We honor this holiday annually. I am using the templates found in Suzanne Down's wonderful storytelling/puppetry guide Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals to help my students design felt animals representing different endangered species around the world. We will then sew these onto our Peace flags as our cumulative project in the Sewing block.

How did I tie the endangered animal theme into our Creation stories? God entrusted Adam with the care of the animals. He named them after all (this was the excerpt from Ginzberg's book that I read to the class)! Even if this story isn't your belief of how the world was formed, it is true that humans are responsible for their actions and need to be sensitive to how they are treating the planet. I went online to find a list of the endangered species and was thrilled to find a great resource: Worldwide Endangered Animal List. This list can be narrowed by continent. You can also view a worldwide endangered plant list, or a combined list of plants & animals. This site is particularly valuable because it is kept current. It's updated daily.

I sent the link to our school secretary and asked her to print the current list, thinking nothing of it. I was stunned when she told me it was 164 pages!!!! I went and got the list out of my box and it held such a profound visual impact, this thick wad of paper. I kept it hidden from my students until the appropriate point in the discussion, then I went to the cabinet and got out the list. I then placed it in sheet protectors front-to-back and created a binder. My students used the time to create a brainstorm of their flag design, including animals that they thought might be endangered and wanted to research further. Now I have this massive binder at home and their flag designs in front of me, hoping to give each child an animal to further research. I don't think it will be hard. Nearly every animal you can think of is on that list.

Total number of species on the worldwide endangered animal list TODAY:


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