Helping Our Endangered Birds (45 minutes) > Print/View All Notes
In this activity, students will familiarize themselves with three birds that are endangered either at the federal or state level. Begin this activity by asking students to turn to page 2 in their Engineering Portfolios. This page contains the Endangered Bird Graphic Organizer. After students have read through the bird descriptions, ask them to look at the resources listed on the next page in the website to learn a little more about each bird. They should take notes as they proceed.
If students are confused about the difference between the federal and state lists of endangered species, explain to them that to be listed as a federally endangered species, an animal has to be in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. To be listed as endangered at the state level, an animal has to be in danger of disappearing from that state. Even animals that are not in imminent danger of becoming extinct across the entire country are worth protecting in individual states.
After students have completed the activity, lead a discussion about how to protect endangered birds from extinction. You can do this as an entire class or in small groups. As students brainstorm, consider asking them to keep track of their ideas with this brainstorming tool: https://bubbl.us
As a part of this discussion, encourage the class to evaluate the ideas for protecting birds and identify which are most practical. Your students may discuss creating a new habitat as a way to help endangered birds. Habitat restoration is possible, but it is an enormous undertaking. Encourage your students to think about more feasible solutions. If you ask them about which of the birds' needs are going unmet in their current habitats, you may be able to lead them to the practical solution of building nest boxes to replace nesting sites that have been lost. Let your students know that there are scientists and conservationists involved in real-world projects to build nest boxes for endangered birds across the country.