Keywords: extinct, endangered, research, Web page; Grade Level: ninth through twelfth grade; Total Time for Lesson: three 55-minute class periods and homework as needed, depending on the skills of your students, you can get the school computer club to help in publishing or make it an interdisciplinary project with the computer classes; Setting: classroom, computer lab

Concepts to Be Covered

  • The Pennsylvania forests are very rich in resources and important habitats for animals and plants.
  • Habitat destruction, pollution and non-native species pose the greatest threats to our native plants and animals.
  • Everyone needs to understand and support the conservation of our natural resources.

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will gain a vocabulary and knowledge about endangered species.
  • Students will research a specific Pennsylvania extinct, extirpated, endangered or threatened species.
  • Students will publish their research information on the school's Web site.
  • Students will help others become aware of information and conservation of our plants, animals and habitats.

Teaching Model: Information, Research, Publish

State Standards Addressed: Environment and Ecology (4.7.10.C)

Subjects: science, language arts, computer science

Topics: endangered species, Web site publishing; could easily be expanded to species outside of Pennsylvania


"Everyone is interested in endangered species. Often we see very little connection between far off endangered species in exotic places, and their impact on our lives. Let us take a closer look at what is happening all around us right here in Pennsylvania. You will gain a better understanding about 'being endangered' and be able to use the Internet for research and to publish your findings."

Activity #1

  1. Most of the definitions, methods, examples and lists in this section are adapted from a teaching lecture by Dr. Gary San Julian in the summer 2001 Forest Resources Institute for Teachers (FRIT) at The Pennsylvania State University.
  2. On the overhead put the "Matching Definitions" for the students to try. After they have had a few minutes to complete this matching, discuss with them the correct answers. Allow them time to write the definitions in their notebooks.
  3. Have the students brainstorm the reasons for extinct or at risk species as you write them on the board or overhead. Their answers may be included on the following list. You may use this list and the examples to help you direct the students' understanding of at risk species. After the brainstorming give the students the handout "Reasons for Endangerment" to help them recognize their negative causes research.
  4. Where are we going with the information learned today? Tomorrow, we will meet in the computer lab and start some research about Pennsylvania at-risk species that you choose for your project. The project is to publish the information on the school's Web site. By getting to know more about your chosen species, you will gain a greater understanding of the human impact on the ecology of the Pennsylvania forests. You will choose your species today, so if you have Internet access at home you may start working on the rubric today as homework. (Make time available before or after school in the library or computer rooms for students who do not have access at home.)
  5. Have students choose three species from the list of endangered species and use numbers or some fair method to make the final selection

Activity #2 (two class periods)

  1. Students meet in the assignment computer lab.
  2. Review the use of the computer to search the Web.
  3. Show them an example of a published Web page.
  4. Have them put their final work on a disk or directly on the Web site.


  • The rubric assesses the final product.


O'Donnell, Ellen, Margaret Brittingham. Endangered Wildlife Workbook . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University. (Contact the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management to order; include publication title in request.)

Wild Resource Conservation Fund (1995). Endangered and Threatened Species of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Wild Resource Fund .


Betty Longfield, Mifflin County School District