Lively Lesson: Frontloading for Racing Extinction

Join us live from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on November 18 at 1 PM ET for the Racing Extinction Virtual Field Trip to learn why most biologists believe one-half of Earth’s higher life forms will be extinct by 2100, why it’s important to address this loss of biodiversity, and what can be done to prevent it.

This Lively Lesson focuses on maximizing the Racing Extinction Virtual Field Trip experience by frontloading information to activate students’ background knowledge, provide context for the content of the virtual field trip, explore vocabulary, and increase student motivation.

One strategy to frontload information is is suggested in SOS: Visual Walkabout. Begin by printing off a variety of images threatened and endangered species and conservationists, such as those linked below, and posting them throughout the classroom; working in teams, students browse the images and identify questions about the content as they infer the thematic connections.

Images: Gorilla, Panda, Golden Lion Marmoset, Python, Red Panda, California Condor, Rhinoceros, Theropod, Siamese Crocodile, Kirtland Warbler, Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, Jane Goodall

As students discuss the connections between the images, explain that the virtual field trip will explore themes of mass extinction, biodiversity, and conservation.

Students can do their own frontloading about biodiversity and extinction by skimming media and text, focusing on titles, headings, graphics, and images that may activate their background knowledge and help them form questions. They may also want to ask their peers if they have experience or knowledge about biodiversity and extinction, and share in small groups.


Suggested media students can explore includes the Biodiversity Content Collection in Discovery Education, as well as previewing selected segments from Academy Award-Winner Louie Psihoyos’s film Racing Extinction, which airs December 2 at 9 PM ET/PT on Discovery.



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