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Ready-Set-Tech: Biodiversity
Introducing Biodiversity | Endangered Species | Habitats | Global Cultural Diversity

Introducing Biodiversity
As the world grows closer and progressively globalized, the term biodiversity emerges more and more often, particularly in association with the survival of the world as a balanced habitat.

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the term biodiversity, its components, and its relationship to human survival. Students will research biodiversity and its components using a variety of sources and express their discoveries through various formats.

Phillip Seymour
Phillip Seymour is a nationally recognized education trainer and consultant on visual perception and arts/media curriculum integration. He has taught in the New York City public schools and teaches and trains at national universities and educational institutions. Presently, Phillip is an instructor at New York University and the City University of New York.


Science, Biology, Technology, Language Arts, Visual Arts, and Social Studies

Grade Level: 3-6

Time: 5-6 hours

Materials: 2-3 computers with Internet access, LCD projector, printer, access to books and a library, notebooks and writing implements, a class bulletin board.








Students will:

• Understand basic concepts of biodiversity, its components and importance to Human Beings

•  Work cooperatively in groups by researching, developing, and presenting group reports

•  Develop oral, written and visual communication skills

•  Learn to research the Internet and other source information relevant to the topic

•  Map countries or geographic areas associated with globalization

Web sites:



Teachers can refresh their own knowledge on this topic by visiting the following web sites:

From the American Museum of Natural History:
•  http://amnh.org/nationalcenter/it_takes_all_kinds/a/a.html
(An excellent all-around introduction to biodiversity)

•  http://amnh.org/exhibitions/hall_tour/index.html
(Very good breakdown of the variety of species)

Other great web resources:
(Great PBS introductory to biodiversity)

2) http://worldwildlife.org/windows/pdf/education_framework.pdf
(Excellent and detailed scientific explanation of biodiversity)

3) http://biodiversityproject.org/bdscientists.htm
(Good additional definitions )

4) http://biodiversityproject.org/biodiversity.htm
(An explanation of biodiversity)

5) http://biodiversity911.org/biodiversity_
(World Wildlife Org--“What is Biodiversity?)

6) http://biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/aboutus/index.html
(Interesting site linking humans and other animal life in respect to biodiversity)


Book and Magazine Resources:

(Great selection of books for student research and class reading)

2)  http://amnh.org/education/resources/
(Excellent student's magazine resource from the American Museum of natural History)


Have the students bring something they use or eat at home to the class that they think comes from another country or area of the world. Discuss with the students what they know about their contribution (its origins, how it got here, how it was made or grown, connections with other objects etc.). Ask students:

•  What products or foods come from other countries?

•  How does your family use any of these products?

•  How do these foods or products arrive at your home?

Set aside a bulletin board, wall space or area of the room for this study. Write down on the board or chart paper any relevant words or phrases that emerge that connect Human global diversity and interdependence.

Have a large map of the world in front of the class to identify any countries and their geographic locations that may come up in the conversation. The students should each have their own map to individually label the country and area. You can download student maps from the following site: http://nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/
atlas/index.html?Parent=world&Mod e =b&SubMode=

After the discussion lead the students through the web page Global Grocery located on the American Museum of Natural History's Ology web site called Biodiversity . This page will reinforce and expand the class discussion: http://ology.amnh.org/biodivers i ty / g l obalgrocery/index.html

Then take the students through the National Geographic hypertext web site (Lizzie's Morning), a child's daily experience and how many countries of the world she comes into contact with. This site demonstrates globalization and human interdependence. Each country or area of the world mentioned should be pointed out on the map.
http://national geographic.com/
x p e di t ions/activities/11/lizzie.html

Have the students individually create a biodiversity journal for the next phase of this study. Point out the appropriate times for recording important facts and information.

At this stage it's important to connect the idea of globalization with cultural diversity and the interdependence of all life and habitats throughout the world. The following virtual tours help in making the connection and defining the basic components of biodiversity as species diversity, ecosystem diversity, genetic diversity, and cultural diversity.
http://fmnh.org/biod i versity/investi g ate_basics1.html

Expand and reinforce the concept by leading the class through these virtual tours on the American Museum of Natural History's web site:
•  http://amnh.org/nationalcenter/it_

•  http://amnh.org/exhibitions/hall_tour/spectrum/flash/

•  http://amnh.org/nati o nalcenter/it_
takes_all_ k inds/a/a.html

•  http://worldwildlife.org/windows/biod.html

•  http://amnh.org/nationalcenter/it_




Create class groups of four or five students and tell them they will be exploring biodiversity in more detail. Ask the groups to choose one of the four components of biodiversity to explore and research. They will be asked to answer and complete the following:

•  What is biodiversity?

•  Define the chosen component of biodiversity and give examples both written and visual.

•  Why is this particular component important to human beings?

Each group is asked to create an oral and written report that includes visual documentation. There should be at least two visual components to each report. The following sites and books are excellent resources for their research:

•  http://amnh.org/nationalcenter/it_takes_all_kinds/index.html
(Excellent site for research in all areas of biodiversity)

•  http://ology.amnh.org/biodiversity
(Great general idea and facts)

•  http://worldwildlife.org/windows/biod.html
(Great multimedia intro. To biodiversity)

•  http://ology.amnh.org/biodiversity/lifeinthecity/index.html
(Biodiversity in the city)

•  http://nationalgeographic.com/
(Biodiversity in the rainorest)

•  http://biodiversity911.org/
(Biodiversity basics)

•  http://pbs.org/kratts/world/content.html
(Animal links throughout the world)

•  http://amnh.org/nationalcenter/
(General biodiversity info.)

•  http:// biodiversity911.org / biodiversity_basics/learnMore/whatisbiodiversity.html
(Basic information and facts)

•  http:// biodiversity911.org/default.html
(Basic information)

•  http://www .fmnh.org/biodiversity/explore.html
(Explore global diversity)

•  http://pbs.org/earthonedge/discussion_guide.pdf
(Good site on biodiversity and ecosystems)

•  http://nationalgeographic.com/crittercam/kids.html
(Diversity of animals)

•  http://kidsplanet.org/
(Information on animals)

Book and magazine resources:

•  http://amnh.org/education/resources/
(Excellent student magazine on Biodiversity from the American Museum of Natural History

•  http://acornnaturalists.com/store/

•  http://amnh.org/education/resources/




The groups compile their research. They should prepare their reports in both written/visual and oral/visual format. Each group gives their oral/visual presentation to the class. (The class is asked to take notes of other group presentations in their biodiversity journal.)

The groups written formats are reviewed and put up on a wall specifically labeled for biodiversity.

Narrative and literacy engagement. Ask the students to write about some element of biodiversity they were particularly drawn too. This can be expressed in a number of narratives: poems, letters, point of views, journals, reporter's description etc. These should be mounted in the biodiversity area of the room.


Group presentation:

The group's oral/visual and written/visual presentation should address the questions they were asked to research:

•  What is biodiversity?

•  Define one component of biodiversity and give examples, both written and visual.

•  Why and how is this particular component important to human beings?

•  Each member should participate in presenting a particular aspect of the groups findings.

Biodiversity journals kept by each student are reviewed

Narrative and literacy contributions incorporating learned biodiversity content area are shared.



Other lessons in this biodiversity unit include:
Endangered Species

Global Cultural Diversity


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