Classroom Activities and Printable Activity Sheets
Fall 2013 - The Wonderful Diversity of Life
Become Citizen Scientists
Tap into your students' natural curiosity by participating in citizen science projects that encourage them to observe nature, maintain a nature journal, and record and submit data. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a number of different bird-related citizen science projects to choose from, including classroom activities through Project FeederWatch and Celebrate Urban Birds. All are described at to learn more, visit the lab's website. Students will learn about the many kinds of birds in their local area and contribute to ongoing research about bird populations. There are many other citizen science opportunities you can explore. See Discover...Citizen Science in the December 2011 issue of Conservationist magazine for more ideas.
In small groups or as a class, investigate the story of Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall, who started the groundswell of public awareness that resulted in passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and formation of the National Audubon Society. Have your students write persuasive letters or create posters as though they were supporters of these two ladies, working to change fashion and attitudes in the late 1800s. Read the article "How Two Women Ended the Deadly Feather Trade" by William Souder, Smithsonian magazine, March 2013, for background information.
Investigate an Animal
In small groups or individually, have students choose a wild animal which lives in New York State and investigate it, creating posters or electronic slide shows to present their findings to classmates. Areas to investigate include: type of animal, food, predators, range, habitat, challenges to survival, and interesting factoids. To set the stage, study one animal as a class. Black bears are widespread across New York State, and a lot of information is available to share with students. Visit DEC's black bear information page to learn more. In addition, Living with Black Bears and Understanding Black Bears are available online and include videos and multiple resources for teachers and students.
This Issue's "Outside Page"
The activities on the Outside Page of this issue of Conservationist for Kids demonstrate many ways students may influence biodiversity, both locally and globally. Use the activities described here to open discussions about how personal choices and actions do make a difference.
Teacher supplement for this issue (pdf 94kb)