Planning a Unit of Work (Extinction)






Animals, Birds, Fish etc.


Caring for our environment including all living creatures.

Responsibility for the environment.


Sustainability of land, sea and air.

Learning to create purposeful futures.

Learning to act ethically.


Thinking and creativity.

Making meaning.

Living a sustainable life. Learning sustainable practices. Using technology and media.


Goals for Learning


  • Helping students to develop an understanding that behaviours, attitudes and choices affect their environment.
  • Students will be able to use these understandings to make good/informed choices about their habits and the impact it has on living creatures.
  • Students will consider how these choices affect themselves and others.
  • Students will understand that all living things need a sustaining habitat. (What sustains a habitat)
  • Students will understand that ecosystems are fragile. When 1 species is at risk, others may also become at risk.
  • Students will understand that various factors contribute to a species becoming endangered, vulnerable, and extinct and how human factors have increased this.
  • Students will understand that there are ways that people can help bring about change.


Overarching Goals.


 Concepts: sustainability, extinction, eco-systems, biodiversity

  • What factors contribute to a sustainable environment and the welfare of all living creatures?
  • In what ways can we make positive and informed choices about caring for our environment?
  • How do these choices impact on others?


Students will understand about:


  • Key features about sustainability and how it impacts on animals, birds etc
  • How to make informed choices about how we protect our environment.
  • Sustainable land use and protecting the sea and air.
  • How our choices impact on our well-being.


Learning Experiences that lead to Understanding


  • Creating a positive learning environment.
  • Connecting to prior learning.
  • Making learning meaningful – references to what the students know, what they want to find out, how,

Rubrics: teachers’ and students’.

  • Recognising individual differences.



Demonstrations of Successful Learning


Measure learning across all dimensions; multiple methods; use feedback; reflect on learning; express thought

through writing, concept maps, rubrics, pictorial representations, oral presentations.



Tuning In


Find and write the dictionary definitions for extinct, endangered and vulnerable.


Brainstorm with the class the following question:


Does it matter if some animals become extinct?

*(within the animal category we are including animals, birds, reptiles and fish)


Conduct an activity in groups of three to assess the students’ knowledge about extinction and sustainability.

  • Have three students simultaneously write individually in three different colours on a large sheet of paper about their understanding of extinction and sustainability.
  • Students share their answers with other members of their group. Ask the listeners to decide the most important piece on information given.
  • Students report to the class three of the most important pieces of information from their group.
  • Working as a whole class have students sort the information into categories of threatened, endangered and extinct.
  • Many kinds of animals have become extinct. Choose one, and think up five questions that you would like to ask it if you had the opportunity.


Ongoing Assessment


  • Record students’ thoughts as written notes. (larger classes could allocate someone to scribe or a tape recorder could be used to tape thoughts)
  • Keep students’ written work as a record of current understanding to compare with their understanding after the unit.


       Focus on students’ ability to:


  • Express and generalise their understandings of threatened, endangered and extinct.
  • How to care for the land, the sea and the air. (Create and maintain a sustainable environment)
  • Express thoughts in written form.




Finding Out, Sorting Out


       How can we find out about the animals which are endangered of becoming extinct?


       Guiding questions:


  • What do we already know?
  • What do we need to find out?
  • What happens when…..?
  • What does the ……do?
  • Why?
  • How do we find out?


What do animals need to survive?


Teacher directed: Lead a discussion about what animals need to survive: (Whole class activity)

Individual and group activities.

  • Advise the groups to list the information already known and to list questions to direct their inquiry.
  • Discuss the use of internet sites, reference books and asking an expert.
  • More able students can seek extra information.
  • Working in groups, have students list all the animals they can find out about that are in danger of becoming extinct.
  • What do animals need to survive?
  • Develop a plan that would ensure that an endangered animal could survive.
  • Draw a flow chart of a food chain for an animal in your habitat.
  • Describe the animals that would be supported by your habitat?
  • What is an eco-system? What are some of the consequences of disturbing them?
  • Compare a bird and a fish. List all the ways that they are: alike, different.
  • Select an animal and make a list of its food and shelter. Students may do this in any form they wish, eg write, draw, paint, collage etc.



Ongoing Assessment


  • Have students design a rubric to assess each group’s as well as their own presentations with reference to the criteria discussed. (see sample rubric)
  • Display the students’ work and use these as references for on-going reflection.
  • Encourage oral presentations, technology (models etc.), visual artwork, graphs, maps, collage.
  • Have each group present their information about their specific research topic to the class in the form of an oral presentation supported by a labelled poster/diagram, Power Point.
  • Explain to the groups the criteria that will be used to assess each group’s oral presentation.  Suitable criteria include: using strong, clear voices, facing the audience, ensuring each person has equal turn to speak, agreeing on a time frame, making it interesting for the audience, referring to the poster/diagram to assist understanding.
  • Assess students’ oral presentations to the class of their research task.
  • Assess how effectively the group explains the flow chart and ecosystem and how it works together.
  • Score 1-4 on each criterion. At the completion of each presentation, have the whole class assess the presentation using a rubric.


Assess students’ ability to:


  • Make conclusions.
  • Make considered choices.
  • Justify their choices.
  • Make conclusions.
  • Make considered choices about what they might change.
  • Have students share their plans and reach a class consensus.
  • Ask students to organise their information and make choices about how best to present their research. e.g. flow chart, series of models, timeline depicting particular events etc.





  • Does it matter if some animals become extinct? Why? Give your reasons.
  • Select the environmental issue that interests you the most. Explain what it is and your suggestions for solving it.
  • Make a board game to play with their friends to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained.
  • Read all about it… (make a class newspaper.)
  • Make a book to share with younger children or for the school library.
  • Ask students to share and present their work between classes.










  • Overarching Goals:  Goals which overshadow the whole topic.
  • Tuning In: Finding out what the students already know about the topic, as well as what they would like to find out in order to stimulate their interest and enthusiasm for the topic.
  • Brainstorm: group discussion and sharing of ideas.
  • Guiding Questions: questions related to the topics which promote thought as well as refining the investigation to be undertaken.
  • Concept maps, flow charts: These are examples of graphic organisers.
  • Graphic Organiser: Charts which help visually to organise information.
  • Rubrics: Teacher or student generated charts based on the topic being studied to assist with self-assessment.
  • Culmination: The final part of the topic where students demonstrate their understandings using a variety of methods including drama, information technology, oral presentations, written material, art and craft etc.
  • Teacher Directed: the majority of classroom activities are directed by the teacher
  • Child Centred: teacher and students in a learning partnership
  • Multiple Intelligences (MI) Howard Gardner’s seven multiple Intelligences
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy: Blooms hierarchy of research skills
  • Whole Class Teaching: The classroom teacher working with the whole class on the same activity.
  • Small groups: Students organised in groups e.g. 4-6
  • Individual Work: students working alone on individual projects / contracts
  • Contract: A series of questions on a particular topic based on Bloom’s taxonomy.


























Self-Assessment Rubric for Students






What have I learned

about extinction and habitats?

I enjoyed learning about extinction and habitats.

I would like to continue learning about extinction.


I sometimes liked learning about extinction and habitats and I think I have learned a little bit. I don’t think that I learned anything about extinction and habitats. I was bored and I didn’t like the topic.

How well did I participate in group work?

I participated well in group work. I always did my share of the work and participated in class discussions.


I worked well most of the time. I did some of the work in the group and I thought about what I could share in class discussions.


I wasted time in the groups and I did not help much. I didn’t concentrate or try to think of things to share with the class.

Was I able to answer the questions that were asked at the beginning of the unit?

I was able to answer most / all of the questions.  I thought about them during my work on the unit and answered them when I could.


I sometimes remembered the questions and answered one or two. The questions were difficult to answer. I forgot about the questions and did not think about them again.

Did I complete all the work of the unit?



I completed all the work for the unit as I was very interested in the topic I completed most of the work and I will continue to finish it off for homework or when I have finishing off time in class.


I did not complete all the work and I did not try very hard.

Have I used a number of ways to demonstrate my learning?


I have used a variety of art and craft materials to show what I now understand about extinction and habitats. I have given an oral presentation to the class about extinction and habitats. I have made a model of a sustainable habitat to show what I think is important to help prevent the extinction of animals. I drew a picture of a habitat.




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