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Endangered Species- Can We Help Them Survive? Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ANM002
Author: Howard C. Kimmel, Ririe Elementary School, Ririe, ID Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 4, 5, 6


  • Science/Animals

OVERVIEW: The topic of endangered species and their impact on society is both of high interest and controversy. This lesson is part of a unit designed to address this while specifically working with higher level thinking skills.


The purpose of this lesson is to allow the student to select a specific endangered animal, identify it’s attributes, and suggest how changes in it’s physical and behavioral characteristics would improve it’s chances for survival.

OBJECTIVES: The student will be able to:

  • Identify species that are designated as endangered.
  • Identify the physical and behavioral characteristics of selected species.
  • Use the Productive Thinking Model (fluency, flexibility, originality, and evaluation) to work towards a solution to the identified problems.
  • Use the SCAMPER technique individually and in a group to suggest solutions to the problems.
  • Illustrate an example of the end product of their work.

    A chart or student handout detailing the SCAMPER technique is needed. Illustrations of animals that have been designated as endangered from magazines or other sources would be helpful for suggestions and motivation.


  • Introduce the lesson by selecting an endangered animal and identifying its physical and behavioral characteristics. Discuss the factors that the students feel have contributed to causing this animal to be designated as endangered.
  • Introduce (or review) the SCAMPER technique.
  • Use the SCAMPER technique together to attempt to adapt the selected animal in ways that the students think will improve its chances for survival.
  • Allow the students to work individually or in groups to follow the same procedure:
    1. select an animal
    2. identify its characteristics
    3. discuss what factors have caused it to become endangered
    4. use the SCAMPER technique to adapt the animal
    5. make an illustration of your SCAMPERed animal to share with the class

    When the students have had sufficient time to complete the activity, ask them to return to their seats and share their results with the class. Ask each individual and/or group to describe how and why they SCAMPERed their animal. Let them share their illustration with the class (or post them, if space is available). Solicit suggestions and comments from the class to help further improve the adaptations suggested for each animal.

    SCAMPER checklist: S (Substitute) – Have a thing or person act or serve in another’s place C (Combine) – Bring together or unite A (Adapt) – Adjust to suit a condition or purpose M (Modify) – Alter or change in form or quality (Magnify) – Enlarge or make greater in quality or form (Minify) – Make smaller, lighter, slower, less frequent P (Put to other uses) – Use for purposes other than the ones intended E (Eliminate) – Remove, omit, or get rid of a quality, part, or whole R (Rearrange) – Change order or adjust; create another layout or scheme

    May 1994

    These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.