2018-2019 Graduate Catalog

EDUA 5317 Endangered Species/Mass Extinction

There have been five mass extinction events (MEEs) throughout Earth’s history, which taken as a whole have wiped out 96% of all species through natural disasters such as meteors, volcanoes, and ice ages. We now know that the Earth is in the middle of a sixth mass extinction – this one caused by human actions. Through the destruction of habitats for industrial and commercial use, illegal poaching, pollution, and the shrinking of fresh water supplies, humans have greatly impacted the environment and placed major stressors on species all over the earth.

This course provides strategies to teach students about how Earth supports an interconnected web of living things, in which every species relies on others to keep the natural world in balance. It discusses how animal species become endangered or extinct, the negative ripple effects of extinctions on Earth’s habitats, and the crucial importance of reversing this trend. The teacher will learn about the contributions of major scientists to our understanding of MEEs, including Georges Cuvier, Charles Lyell, and Charles Darwin. After finishing the course, the teacher will know how to educate students about the interconnectivity of ecological systems, how plant and animal groups become endangered or extinct, and how humans accelerate this phenomenon. Perhaps most importantly, after this course the teacher will be equipped to teach students the benefits of protecting the earth’s habitats and species as well as provide opportunities to work towards conservation.