Module 4: Studying Mass Extinctions
- Students will research the causes of mass extinctions including, but not limited to:
- Climate change (global warming/glaciation)
- Tectonic activity
- Changes in Sea level/chemistry
- Changes in atmospheric chemistry
- Bolide impact (iridium anomalies as evidence along with craters)
- Others: including extinction of food species, competition, parasites, epidemics, etc.
- Groups of students will choose one of the Earth’s mass extinction events and research the proposed cause(s) of that event.
* Students will then produce a presentation to share their finding with the rest of the class or another appropriate audience in the form of a power point presentation, news report video, newspaper article, or other acceptable form. May be used as a summative assessment at the teacher’s discretion. *One or more groups of students may be assigned research on the current extinction rate, its causes, and how this extinction event compares to those in the past.
- In conclusion: the class may want to discuss what lies in the near and distant future for Earth’s living creatures, including humans.
I have also purchased the DVD Walking with Prehistoric Beasts from The Discovery Channel. This is an excellent video that could be used as a review of the entire unit and to stimulate interest in further discussion and to prepare the students for biology and inquiry into Charles Dawin’s theory of Natural Selection.