Resources for Grades 3-5 Activity – Charting Biodiversity

Students explore the amazing diversity of life on Earth and discover how plants and animals are adapted for survival. This activity helps students understand why there are so many different species and teaches them the value of biodiversity.

To get this activity, purchase it from Shop.PLT.org as part of the Biodiversity Blitz activity collection and/or find out about professional development opportunities in your state.

Below are some supporting resources for this activity.

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Match-Up Cards (PDF)

Biodiversity Match-Up (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals, while building upon concepts learned in this activity, with the following children’s book recommendations:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • NGSS Correlations for “Charting Biodiversity”

    Download “Charting Biodiversity” NGSS Correlations which includes a guiding question, science connections found in the activity, and explicit NGSS correlations. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) define what students should know or be able to do at the end of instruction. This activity provides students opportunities to explore the three dimensions of science to build knowledge and understanding. In addition, activities offer phenomenon-based learning, which involves exploring the real world through learner-centered, multidisciplinary investigations that promote inquiry and problem solving.  It is a useful resource even if your state has not adopted NGSS.

  • Poster: Animals at Risk from Climate Change

    Animals at Risk from Climate Change is an educational poster developed by the Global Education Project. The poster presents a succinct overview of the fundamental impacts of greenhouse gases and features 25 animals currently at risk because of climate change. Through illustrations, symbols and brief explanatory text, learn about the biological traits and environmental conditions that cause a species to be susceptible to climate change. This 24″ x 30″ poster is available in folded, flat, and laminated formats.

  • Conservation Connect

    Conservation Connect is an online video series developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center designed to encourage students, ages 8-16, to spend time outdoors, observe wildlife in their local habitat, and learn more about natural resource conservation careers. Topics include endangered species such as Bats and the Monarch Butterfly as well as green careers, such as conservation law enforcement. Watch the educator’s introductory video to learn how the series can be used to supplement the existing environmental education curriculum, citizen science projects, and STEM content (science, technology, engineering, and math). The overview highlights the recovery of the American Bald Eagle, one of conservation’s biggest success stories.

  • Encyclopedia of Life Biodiversity Cards

    The Encyclopedia of Life is a biodiversity resource that collects and shares information about living things on earth from microorganisms, invertebrates, and trees. When you share observations on the iNaturalist app, scientists come together to properly identify the species. This live data becomes a part of the Encyclopedia of Life and is made into an EOL Biodiversity Card. You can collect or make your own by collecting data on species found in your community.

  • Bird Sleuth

    The BirdSleuth Guidebook from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers step-by-step instructions to enable families, school groups, and others to get outdoors and connect with nature. Use this booklet in conjunction with PLT lessons, for example, go on a habitat scavenger hunt (Trees as Habitats), create a sound map (Sounds Around), and identify backyard species (Schoolyard Safari and Name That Tree). The BirdSleuth program helps K-12 students participate in citizen science bird projects by guiding them through several tasks, such as using online resources to find your state bird, looking for birds that fit into different groups, practicing bird counting and entering data online, extracting data from eBird about local birds, and taking action to improve bird habitat in your area.

  • Color the World!

    Coloringnature.org offers more than 500 realistically illustrated coloring pages that can be downloaded and printed for use in PreK-8 classrooms. Choose from categories such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, animal homes, biomes and habitats, and trees. Consider pairing the pages with PLT activities as diagrams, models, or assessment tools.

  • Secret Lives of Wild Animals

    This National Science Foundation website looks at new technologies being used to observe animals in their natural environments. See video clips and stories about the technology used for tracking white-tailed deer, ocelots, agoutis, dragonflies, zebras, and seals.

  • iNaturalist

    iNaturalist is a species identification app that allows users to record their observations of living things by way of taking photos and appending GPS coordinates to their discoveries. Each user has their own profile and can follow others to keep a tab of what others are posting, or share what they have photographed. The app also facilitates connections with thousands of scientists to help users identify the species they have observed.

    Another exciting aspect of iNaturalist is that users can contribute their photos and data and participate in a number of citizen science projects. You can find a list of some of these projects here or click on “find your location” using this map to see the observations in your area. You can also develop your own for your school or local community!

  • Plant for the Planet Video

    Inspired by Wangari Maathai, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded “Plant for the Planet” and has planted more than 500,000 trees in Germany which he says will help sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Watch Felix’s video, part of the Young Voices on Climate Change series, to learn about his efforts to plant trees for a healthier world.

  • Amazing Animals and Creature Features

    These online resources from National Geographic for Kids present animal information in an interactive way.  Targeted at elementary students, the website features clickable facts and photos of more than 40 animal species from Adelie penguins to zebras.  Users can watch videos of the animals, find maps showing where each animal lives, and print out a collector’s card for any animal described.

  • Endangered Species Interactive Map

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service has launched a web-based interactive map with information about endangered species success in every state: stories of species making strides towards recovery, audio interviews and podcasts with biologists about on-the-ground endangered species conservation, and more.

  • American Bird Conservancy Video: Go Birding, Save Species!

    Enjoy this one-minute video featuring our favorite feathered friends.  Can you identify all of these spectacular birds? Visit www.conservationbirding.org for the full species list.  The video was created to showcase the American Bird Conservancy’s web site that enables birders to find birding routes and lodges that support habitat protection.  Go birding to celebrate Earth Day!

  • Encounters: Wild Explorer

    The public radio program Encounters: Radio Experiences in the North explores the natural history of Alaska and the Far North. An accompanying website offers K-12 teachers links to the episodes as well as resources, such as slideshows, videos, and sound clips, introducing the animals and habitats of the regions: beavers, bears, caribou, humpback whales, boreal forests, moose, and others.

  • Ferret – Free iPad App

    This free, interactive iPad app teaches children how to classify animals in a series of taps and swipes. Ferret marries science and design, allowing children to discover and learn about select species. The app allows students to “build” animals using a periodic table-like classification system, and in doing so, describe their distinct characteristics.

     

  • Biointeractive’s Holiday Lectures on Science

    Biointeractive’s Holiday Lectures on Science series brings current research into the classroom, bridging the gap between textbook science and real life science. The Biodiversity in the Age of Humans series asks powerful questions, such as: Are we witnessing a sixth mass extinction? What factors threaten ecosystems on land and in the sea? What are researchers doing to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems around the world? What tools do we have to avoid a global catastrophe? In six half-hour lectures, three leading scientists describe the state of biodiversity on our planet and how to face the great challenges that lie ahead.