Keywords: research, endangered; Grade Level: seventh grade; Total Time for Lesson: Two 45-minutes classes; Setting: school library

Concepts to Be Covered

  • Using library resources to locate information about animals using electronic and Internet resources to locate information about animals
  • Applying previous knowledge about the reasons some species are threatened or endangered

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will discover facts about a specific animal species.
  • Students will use research skills and techniques to locate their assigned topic in a variety of sources.

Subjects: life science

Topics: research on endangered species


The seventh grade life science students spend a great deal of time studying endangered species and the environmental reasons for the problem. Their teacher brings them to the library to research their chosen species.

The role of the librarian in this situation is to give the students guidelines as to where the information they seek may be located. All of the students had Library Skills Class in sixth grade, so the teacher and librarian will provide a familiar "note sheet" to remind the students what to look for. Because some of the species are rather obscure, the library staff has prepared a database that tells which animal is covered in which book. This speeds up the research process so the students have more time to read the material about the animal.

Activity #1

The students come to the library during the regular science class. The teacher provides ajar containing slips of paper. Each slip of paper contains the name of an endangered species. The students pick out a slip. The teacher gives them their note sheet and reminds them about the information they will be looking for.

Activity #2

The librarian then shows the students the database, which contains all the information about locating the endangered species information. The books, which are noted on the database sheet, are placed in a strategic location in the library so the students can readily find them. Both the teacher and the librarian remind them to utilize the encyclopedias, endangered species encyclopedias, animal encyclopedias, science encyclopedias, nonfiction books, CD-ROMs, and Internet sites. The librarian reminds them to think of using good keywords and also notes that they probably will not find a book in which the title is the same as their assigned animal's name. Both adults give a reminder to note sources on the "Form for Works Cited."

Activity #3

Fill in the information on the note sheet. Stress to the students that they are taking notes--not writing sentences--at this point.

Activity #4

After the library research phase is done, the students return to the science classroom and create a cube made out of paper, which gives all the vital information about the species they researched. This project uses pictures and text to tell what the students found out about the animal they researched. The teacher then hangs these cubes from the ceiling in the classroom where they make an eye-catching display.


The information shown on the student's project will tell the teacher if the student successfully researched and understood the endangered species assignment.


Since seventh graders are notorious for not completing an assignment promptly, I would be available for the next week to assist the procrastinators. When enough time has passed, we will close the library during the popular social time and only allow endangered species researchers to come in to the library and finish their research. At this time the teacher, several teacher's aides, and I will work with them to get the research finished.


Elizabeth Stumpf, Clearfield Middle School

Please note: At Clearfield Middle School we have been doing this research for many years. I have worked with Mrs. Beverly Wilson on this, and the note sheet is her creation.