science education resource

Endangered and Threatened Species

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Endangered Species

There are plants and animals all over the world, each in their own habitat. Over time thay have found a balance with other plants and animals in their ecosystem or they will begin to disappear - go extinct. Scientists keep track of many plants and animals species and notice when they begin to disappear and often try to protect them.
A plant or animal species that is disappearing is listed under one of two groups – endangered or threatened.
An “endangered species” is a plant or animal species that is in danger of going extinct throughout all or most of where it lives – its range.
When a plant or animal species is almost endangered, it is called a “threatened species”. This means the plant or animal is likely to become endangered soon throughout all or most of its range.
After a plant or animal is listed as endangered or threatened on the "Federal list" it can then be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
This protection is the repsonsibility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-Fisheries.
A species is added to the Endangered Species List when its survival is endangered or threatened by a few important things done my humans or nature. Some things that cause animals (or plants) to become endangered or threatened are loss of habitat, over hunting (or over collecting) by man or predators, or disease.
To find out about which animals or plants are endangered or threatened, how it happened, and what is being done to protect them, check out some of the topics below.

National Science Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
• Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments. (5-ESS3-1)

Performance Expectations  Students who demonstrate understanding can:
Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
• Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things. (MS-ESS3-3)
• Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise. (MS-ESS3-3),(MS-ESS3-4)

ESS3.D: Global Climate Change
• Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities. (MS-ESS3-5)

Performance Expectations  Students who demonstrate understanding can:MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.