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Tracking the Wild Ones


Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year

Return to Wild and Wonderful Lessons About Endangered Species


  • Mathematics: Applied Math
  • Mathematics: Arithmetic
  • Mathematics: Process Skills
  • Mathematics: Statistics
  • Science: Life Sciences: Animals


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Use statistics about endangered species to learn more about the extent of this global concern.


Students will

  • analyze graphs to answer specific questions.
  • look for trends in graphed results.


Endangered species, animals, graphs

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

Most students will eagerly agree that endangered species need help and attention, but they often do not have a true understanding of the depth of the problem. In this activity, children use their math skills to interpret data from reputable sources and size up the current status of the endangered species of our nation and the world.

Start this lesson with a brief discussion of endangered species. If you choose, visit The Wild Ones, a Web site with information about endangered species, the environment, and those who protect it. Ask your students to share what they know about the number of endangered species in our nation and the world. Explain that they are about to examine some current data to find out just how many endangered species have been identified. Remind them that these are the animals and plants that are known to be in trouble. Many others probably exist.

Distribute copies of the Tracking the Wild Ones work sheet. Instruct students to use charts and graphs found in the following locations to answer the questions; if Internet access is unavailable, students might use printed copies of the charts.

The pages above are accessible from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service page Species Information. (The second chart is up-to-date, so minor changes may occur in the answer key below.) When students have completed the handout, correct the answers as a group and talk about the large numbers of endangered species found in the United States. Were the students surprised to find that there are more listed species in this country than in the foreign countries? How might that be explained?


The following answers reflect the endangered species data posted on the charts and graphs cited in this lesson as of April 4, 2003.
Answer Key:
1. The number of listed species grew every year.
2. 991
3. 166 more plants were listed
4. 1349 species
5. 139 fish species
6. corals, 2 species
7. lichens
8. 775 more U.S. species than foreign ones

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Cara Bafile

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

MATHEMATICS: Data Analysis and Probability
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-DATA.3-5.2 Select and Use Appropriate Statistical Methods to Analyze Data
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-DATA.6-8.2 Select and Use Appropriate Statistical Methods to Analyze Data

MATHEMATICS: Connections
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

NS.K-4.3 Life Science
GRADES 5 - 8
NS.5-8.3 Life Science

Find more great lessons for teaching about Earth Day issues on Education World's Earth Day resources page.

Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Wild and Wonderful Lessons About Endangered Species.

Originally published 04/25/2003
Last updated 03/17/2009