This article examines the lack of action by the federal government to protect the woodland caribou and the implications of that inactivity.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Environmental studies, world issues, politics

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What is threatening the woodland caribou?
  • Why is nothing being done?
  • Should we care about species becoming threatened or even extinct?

New Terminology:

Species at risk

Materials Needed:

  • Access to the Internet for potential research if needed.
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

There have been many reports over the last few years outlining the plight of various species around the world and how their populations are declining to the point of potential extinction. The polar bear is a classic example of how the plight of a particular animal is being threatened by climate change and the intrusion of humans into their habitat. While these situations continue to be reported relatively little attention is being paid because most concern is being focused on the potential threats of climate change to humans. This lesson will have the students consider and discuss the importance of taking action to protect these species.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students if they have seen any of the advertisements outlining the plight of the polar bear.
  • Get their reactions to those ads.
  • Ask them if they have heard of other species that are in a similar plight.
  • List those species.
  • Having completed this activity, if the woodland caribou is not on the list, inform the students of its at-risk state and provide them with a copy of the article.
  • Allow them time to read it and then get their reactions.
  • Hold a brief class discussion which addresses the question of whether or not we should be concerned about the increasing number of species being threatened.
  • Once this brief discussion has been held, indicate to the students that they are to write a five paragraph essay using the five paragraph format found at the website which addresses the question “Should we care about species being threatened or even becoming extinct?”
  • Give the students the remainder of the period to do any research they believe they need and start work on their essay.
  • Assign a due date for their essays.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • The students will decide which side of the question they support, gather information and then consolidate that material into a workable format to utilize in their essay.



Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • The students will be able to identify some species whose status is of concern.
  • The students will be able to articulate why they believe, or don’t believe, that the increasing number of threatened species should be a concern.

Confirming Activity:

  • The students will complete and submit the five paragraph essay outlining their position on this issue.