Lively Lessons: Endangered Animal Relocation STEM Challenge

Join Discovery Education in the month of May as we celebrate STEM Learning: the powerful critical thinking and exploration practice connected by a common or transdisciplinary theme.

Utilizing a STEM mindset in the classroom, students will ask deep, real-world questions, collaborate with their peers, arrive at meaningful conclusions, and explore STEM careers.

This STEM Challenge was created collaboratively by a team of Discovery Educator Network Leadership Council members, including Susan Bowdoin, Sonja Fehlmann, Stephanie Harper, Dacia Jones, Cathy Maher, and Conni Mulligan.


In this Lively Lesson, students propose the relocation of an endangered animal by researching its habitat, estimating costs for the relocation, and supporting their choices with evidence, all using Discovery Education resources and instructional strategies.

Consider that you have been asked to choose an endangered animal and create a way to relocate it to a safer place. In order to do that, you will need to research the habitat, food, and other needs of your animal to find a suitable place for relocation. You must provide rationale behind your decision and estimate costs for this relocation.

Explore supporting resources to learn more about endangered species, why they should be protected, and to select a species to learn more about.

Polaroid_Adult_PandaPLANET EARTH: The Future: Saving Species

Grades 9-12

This program stresses the need to protect all species from extinction regardless of their popular appeal. Use SOS: Circle of Viewpoints to help students explore how events and experience have an effect on people’s views and opinions.

Polaroid_GorillaWhere Have All The Animals Gone? Endangered Species

Grades 6-8

What causes a specific animal or plant to become endangered and possibly go extinct? This resource focuses on the need to protect and help living things. Use SOS: ABC Summary to help students synthesize what they’ve learned about the interdependence between organisms within a niche or habitat.

Polaroid_young_Orangutan Visiting the Rescue Center

Grades K-8

How do rescue centers help animals in need? Visit an animal rescue center with Jeff Corwin and see how they are helping threatened species. The 4 segments following this one also deal with rescuing endangered animals. Use SOS: 3 Truths and 1 Lie as a debrief after watching this video segment as a way for the teacher to do a quick check for understanding.

Polaroid_Leopard_peering_from_treeExploring the Diversity of Life: Act with the Facts

Grades K-5

What causes habitat loss? Take a look at all sides of the issue. Use SOS: Myth Bustin’! to help students understand the causes and effects of habitat loss.

Polaroid_Bison_on_hillOn the Trail: Meet Animals of North America

Virtual Field Trip

Join scientists and researchers from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to see a wide range of animals from North America; learn who these animals are, why they are important, and the threats facing these creatures; and hear about programs that you can get involved in to help save animals in your local area.

Polaroid_Marine_Iguana_in_waterAll About Amphibians

Virtual Field Trip

Dedicated scientists around the world are working to save amphibians, and you can, too. Join scientists and researchers live from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to see a wide range of amphibians from around the world.

Read one of these books and create a list of the endangered species. In small groups, work together to research one of those animals and write 3 Truths and 1 Lie about it. Take turns sharing and predicting which statements are true and which are not.

Gather supporting evidence to suggest a relocation destination for your selected animal, describe its habitat, its requirements for food and shelter, and estimate the cost of its relocation. Use a trusted source, like Discovery Education, for your research.

Create and share a public service announcement, book, or mini-documentary about your animal’s relocation.

  • Hands-on Technology
    • Select your animal’s image from Discovery Education or draw an image of your animal using a computerized paint program. Use Blabberize (online) or Yakit (iOS app) to make the image of the animal talk describing why it needs to be relocated and to where
    • Use Google Slides, PowerPoint, or any other presentation program to create slides that can be printed and turned into a book
  • Hands-on Art
    • Create shoebox diorama of the animal’s habitat, including a small paper mache or clay model of the animal
    • Use the model and shoe box habitat to create a stop-motion or one-take video about the animal, its environment, and its successful relocation or a one take video

Extend learning by exploring the related Career Connections.

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