Animals in Danger:

Protecting Species from Climate Change

Ms. Lambrech, PS/MS 278




Climate change is impacting communities around the world. Climate change is contributing to pollution of our air, water, and soil. The impact of human activity is making many of these problems worse. Your class are consultants to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to analyze the challenges facing specific endangered animals in the United States and to propose policy solutions to address these challenges.




Students will work in groups to research a specific animal impacted by climate change. You will create a PSA (public service announcement -- a call to action) about why your animal is important, how it is affected by climate change, and what more can be done to protect it. The PSA will include an informational poster and a short oral presentation where every member presents some of your findings.




1)      Your group will read and discuss several articles about climate change and its impact on your specific animal. You will be assigned either monarch butterflies, beers, or puffins (ML may add additional choices pending suitable available resources)


2)      Your group will work together to complete the attached worksheet (to be created by M. Lambrech to map to the 6 PPA steps linked below).


††††††††††† Group Worksheet on Climate Change Research



1)      Write 1-2 sentences to define the problem (given to them by ML)

2)      What is the evidence that this problem exists? (what statistics or facts support the existence of your problem?)

3)      What are the underlying causes of this problem? What environmental issues are impacting your animal and its habitat? Include and define at least 3 key vocabulary terms that pertain to your animal or help to explain how itís impacted. Defined vocabulary might be specific to your animal (i.e. pollen, hibernation) or general (i.e. offspring, habitat)

4)      What solutions currently exist? What rules or laws exist to protect this animal?

5)      What more could be done to protect this animal? How could existing laws be made stronger? List three ideas.

6)      Which of your ideas in #5 seems the most reasonable (feasible) to propose to the EPA? What might be an effective idea to try?


OPTIONAL: you may wish to click on the following hyperlinks to further explain the 6 sections of the worksheet above.


1) Define the Problem


2) Gather the Evidence


3) Identify the Causes


4) Evaluate an Existing Policy


5) Develop Solutions


6)† Select the Best Solution


3) Your group will prepare a public service announcement (PSA) to share your findings from the worksheet to educate about the impact of climate change on your animal, and what can be done. The PSA has two parts: a poster (i.e. like an advertisement, or call to action) to visually share findings/suggest next steps, and an oral presentation (<5 minutes) to summarize key findings; every group member will have a chance to share something (i.e. each group member may be responsible for talking about/explaining one of the 6 sections) Speak slowly and clearly!


Resources -- General Background on Climate Change:


         Climate Change: 11 Facts You Should Know

         Ten Easy Ways Kids Can Protect The Rainforest

         NASA Backgrounder for Kids About Climate Change

         Are The Effects Of Global Warming Really That Bad?

         Habitat Destruction

         How The U.S. Protects The Environment


Resources -- Specific Animals:




         National Geographic Kids: Monarch Butterflies

         Monarch Butterflies And Climate Change

         Species On The Move: Monarch Butterflies

         We're Losing Monarchs Fast: Here's Why




         How Climate Change Is Messing With Bees

         Bee Informed!

         Threats To Bees

         Being Serious About Saving Bees




         Puffin Backgrounder

         Five Feathery Facts About Puffins

         Audubon Project Puffin

         Puffin Backgrounder



Evaluation (Rubric):







All 6 worksheet sections are complete with relevant, accurate information from resources

Most (at least 5) worksheet sections are complete with mostly accurate, relevant information from resources

Some (at least 4) worksheet sections are complete with mostly accurate, relevant information from resources

Few (3 or less) worksheet sections are complete with mostly accurate, relevant information from resources


All relevant research findings are incorporated; poster is visually interesting, easy to read, colorful, neat

Most relevant research findings are incorporated; poster is visually interesting, easy to read, colorful, neat

Some relevant research findings are incorporated; poster may be hard to read or needs additional visuals, color or neatness

Few relevant research findings are incorporated; poster may lack visuals/color, clarity, neatness


Each group member accurately presents a portion of the groupís findings, speaking loudly and clearly

Most group members present a portion of the groupís findings, mostly accurately; most speak loudly and clearly

Only a few group members present portions of the groupís findings; some facts may be inaccurate; some speakers need to speak more loudly or clearly

Only a few group members present portions of the groupís findings; many inaccuracies or omissions of required components; speakers need to speak more loudly or clearly


Group members support each othersí understanding of the texts and stay highly focused on the task; everyone is responsible for a specific role

Group members support each othersí understanding of the texts and are mostly focused on the task; most group members assume responsibility for a specific task

Some group members support each othersí understanding of the text; some group members are unfocused or do not contribute fully to the task

Not all group members understand or can speak to the task at hand; some members may need additional focus or do not contribute to the task




Congratulations! The EPA appreciates and will review each groupís findings to develop and refine U.S. policies that impact these endangered animals. You have learned how to participate as part of a research team by reading sources of information to find facts that help explain your problem and support your ideas for creating solutions. You are now ready to apply these skills to any non-fiction topic you wish to study! You have also increased your background knowledge of climate changeís impact on the environment, which will continue to be one of the most important global issues in your lifetime. Being informed empowers you to make better decisions and act for positive change!




RI.4.1: Key Ideas and Details: refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text

RI4.2: Key Ideas and Details: determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text

RI.4.3: Key Ideas and Details: explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text

RI.4.4: Craft and Structure: determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area

RI.4.5: Craft and Structure: describe the overall structure (i.e. chronology, comparison, cause/effect, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text)

RI.4.7: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (i.e. in charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, animations, or interactive elements on web pages)

RI 4.8: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text

RI. 4.9: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: integrate information from two (or more) texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably

W4.4: Writing: Production and Distribution of Writing: produce clear and cohesive writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose and audience

W4.7.: Research to Build and Present Knowledge: conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic

SL4.1.: Comprehension and Collaboration: engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on othersí ideas and expressing their own clearly

SL4.2.: Comprehension and Collaboration: paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally

SL 4.4.: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: report on a topic or text...using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas

SS 4.10.10: Local and State Governments: citizens can participate in political decision making and problem solving at the local, state, and national levels