Education World: ABC of Endangered Species

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ABC of Endangered Species


Earth Day Graphic

  • Arts & Humanities
    Language Arts, Visual Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Science
    Life Sciences, Animals, Physical Science, Environmental
  • Social Studies


K-2, 3-5, 6-8

Brief Description

Students create an ABC Book of Endangered Animals that includes locator maps, "fast facts," and explanations about why those animals are endangered.


Students will
  • choose an endangered species to research that begins with an assigned letter;
  • research the animal's habits, habitat, and endangered status;
  • create a page for a class ABC book that includes a photograph or artwork of the animal, a brief description of the animal and its habits and habitat, a "fast fact" that shares the most interesting thing they learned about the animal, and an explanation of why the animal is endangered;
  • briefly report to the class the results of their research.


animals, endangered, species, ABC, world, research

Materials Needed[shopmaterials]

  • library and/or Internet sources about animals and/or endangered species
  • art supplies
  • a world map that can be used as a locator map on the students' reports (sources provided)
  • materials for gathering students' pages into a book

Lesson Plan

Explain to students that they are going to create a class ABC Book of Endangered Species.

To assign students a letter of the alphabet, write each letter on a small piece of paper, fold the papers, put them in a container, and let each student draw a paper from the container. If students are to work on this assignment in groups, each member of the group can take a turn drawing a slip from the container and letters drawn by group members will become their assigned letters.

An alternative approach is to divide students into small groups and assign a different continent to each group. Students can search for endangered species by continent rather than by letter.

If students have Internet access, they can use the Kids Planet Especies Fact Sheets as one of their resources. If students do not have Internet access, print out copies of the "master list" of endangered species from that Web site; the list -- which is classified by continent -- will make an excellent starting point, especially for younger students. The site also includes excellent photographs that students can print and use on their ABC book pages.

Have students use library or Internet resources to learn facts about the endangered species they have been assigned for the class book. Following are a handful of elements that might be included on the completed pages:

  • name of the endangered animal
  • an image of the animal (a student drawing or an image downloaded from the Web)
  • a small world map to indicate where the species is known to exist (print out the small outline maps Map 1 or Map 2, or use a photocopier to reduce the world image Map 3)
  • a paragraph with a description of the animal that includes information about its size, color, habits, and habitat
  • a statement explaining why the animal is endangered
  • a "fast fact" telling the most interesting thing the students learned about the animal -- something many people might not know

When students have completed their pages, ask them to share them with the class with a brief presentation (2 minutes) highlighting the results of their research.

Additional Animal Resources on the Internet


Students' work will be evaluated based on whether their animal pages include all the required elements and on the presentation of their research.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts

  • GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

  • GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

    GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

  • GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.5 Technology Research tools
See more resources at our special Earth Day page.
Return to the Earth Day 2002 lesson plan page.

Originally published 04/05/2002
Last updated 03/18/2010