Teachers' Aids and Educational Materials
Teachers' AidsThe American Biology Teacher. Published by the National Association of Biology Teachers, 12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, VA 20191; www.nabt.org; Phone: 1-800-406-0775. Although not primarily concerned with endangered species, this magazine occasionally has information on this subject.
Discovery Channel School. “Discovery Channel School K-12 Catalog” lists materials, such as CD-ROMs and videos, which are packaged together. For example, the Insects packet includes a CD-ROM, a student resource book, “Insect Files,” a Teachers’ A-Z Resource Guide on Insects, and an Internet site featuring electron microscope images of insects and “B-Eye: The World Through the Eyes of a Bee” to show what a flower looks like to a bee. Other packets with CD-ROMs, teachers’ guides and student resource books include: “Plants,” “Reptiles,” “Fish and Amphibians,” “Invertebrates,” “Protists and Fungi,” “ Mammals,” “Birds,” “Evolution” and “Ecology.” The latter title’s Internet link features suggestions on projects to save beaches, a global warming debate about coral reefs, and “Earth Today.” Each CD-ROM contains a long video as well as library searches of references, a digital lab and instructions for presentations of slides, text and sound effects to be created by the students. Among the selections in the “Earth Science” CD-ROM bundle is “Conservation of Natural Resources.” The latter CD-ROM is also offered in a bundle along with a student resource book, a teacher’s guide and Internet links. Videos geared toward school classes have themes divided into segments. Titles for grades 6 to 12 include: “Finite Oceans” on the limits of oceans to absorb pollutants and provide resources; “Coral Reefs” explores the Red Sea, an extremely diverse coral ecosystem; “Understanding Oceans” explains their movements, tides, endangered creatures and experts; “Water: To the Last Drop” investigates the contamination and misuse that threatens the limited supplies of freshwater upon which we depend; www.discoveryschool.com.
Earthwatch. This bimonthly periodical, published by Earthwatch, is available by subscription and is sold by many newsstands. Earthwatch sponsors research projects by scientists. Contributors, scholarship and fellowship students may accompany scientists on their expeditions. Projects have included studies of threatened plants and animals and their disappearing habitats in Australia, Brazil and Thailand; endangered sea turtle ecology in Baja California, Mexico; and Florida Manatees. A typical project is carried out by a scientist affiliated with a well-known university or institution. Volunteers pay to assist the scientists by making observations, taking photographs and performing miscellaneous duties for a period of about two weeks. Active participation in the study depends on the health, interests and abilities of the volunteer. Many teachers go on expeditions, taking copious notes and photos, and use the experience as a teaching outline for courses. Students may also be sponsored by their class or family. Volunteers must be 16 years or older. For those unable to participate in research trips, project briefings are available for $15 each, written by the scientists heading each project, with background information and results as available. There are scholarships and fellowships offered to selected applicants. Earthwatch Institute, 3 Clock Tower Place, Suite 100, P.O. Box 75, Maynard, MA 01754-9928; Phone: 1-800-776-0188
Endangered Means There’s Still Time. This free US Fish and Wildlife Service brochure explains the basic causes endangering species. The brochures, “Placing Animals and Plants on the List of Endangered and Threatened Species” and “ESA Basics” explain the listing process, critical habitat and other facets of the US Endangered Species Act. “Why Save Endangered Species?” presents strong arguments for the preservation of biodiversity as it benefits human health and agriculture and tells how animals can be barometers of environmental quality, warning us of the dangers of pesticides, for example. Other brochures include profiles of the Mexican Wolf, Red Wolf, Whooping Crane and others. “Conserving Borderline Species, A Partnership between the United States and Canada” is a report describing the cooperative programs that have helped Whooping Cranes, Swift Foxes, Black-footed Ferrets and other wildlife and plants that inhabit both sides of the Canada/US border region. A poster entitled “The Road to Recovery” illustrates some of the species that, because of the Endangered Species Act, have increased in numbers from Near-extinction: the Grizzly Bear, Bald Eagle, Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly, Gray Whale and Greenback Cutthroat Trout. By calling the Publications Unit of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (304-876-7203) or the Office of Endangered Species, one can also request fact sheets on a selected number of US endangered species and copies of US Fish and Wildlife Service publications (USFWS, 4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22203; www.fws.gov/). Further information on US endangered species is available from www.natureserve.org, a private database providing legal status and general information on all species listed by The Nature Conservancy as Imperiled.
Environmental Vacations: Volunteer Projects to Save the Planet, by Stephanie Ocko, 2nd edition, John Muir Publications, 1992. Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co., 248 pages. This book describes ways in which nonscientists can assist experts in activities (such as monitoring the diversity of rainforests), observing animal behavior or other projects, giving particulars on the projects and how to become involved.
The Globe program for classrooms involves students from around the world who participate in ecology studies by gathering and analyzing data; ncdc.noaa.gov/GLOBE/globe.html. It is affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Green Teacher, P.O. Box 1431, Lewiston, NY 14092; or in Canada, 95 Robert St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 2K5, Canada. Five issues per year, $27.00; sold on newsstands also. This magazine is very well done. It lists environmental projects and activities and has a humane orientation. Some articles are in both French and English.
Knowledge Unlimited, P.O. Box 52, Madison, WI 53701-0052; www.ku.com. This catalog lists videos, filmstrips, resource guides, classroom posters, books and other educational materials under major categories, including Science, which has many listings on endangered species and environmental topics.
National Geographic Society. The Educational Services department of the National Geographic Society provides material, films and filmstrips on general science and biology, including endangered species and habitats. Its free catalog, “School Publishing,” for Grades K-12 offers a wide variety of environmental books, videos, CD-ROMs and other visual material accompanied by teachers’ guides. An Internet site designed for teachers gives further detail: www.nationalgeographic.com/education. One learning packet centers on the Tiger. The teaching guide includes lessons on habitat, populations, adaptation, predator/prey relationships, conservation and scientific studies, accompanied by two videos the society produced on the species, slides, posters and student handouts. Another teaching unit describes The Jason Project Expeditions, sponsored in part by the National Geographic Society. Each centers on a part of the world. These kits combine studies of a variety of disciplines centered on an area or country: biology, climate study, geology and others.
Students learn how to measure pollutants and study endangered species’ diets. These lessons are also shown on the new National Geographic television channel. An interactive encyclopedia CD-ROM on Mammals, for Grades 2-12, allows students to see and hear more than 200 mammals through photos, range maps, acoustics, facts on endangered species, mystery games that test powers of deduction, and a lesson plan booklet. Videos made for the classroom on many subjects include a series on bioscience, showing life cycles of various insects, a trout river ecosystem, and other themes for various grade levels. Each includes a teacher’s guide and is described in the Teacher Store page or in the Video and Media Catalog. Anatomy of frogs and other animals are included in material that teaches function, taxonomy and structure. For the growing number of teachers and students who would rather find another means of learning about frog or mammal anatomy rather than dissection, especially in view of the declining status of frogs, this material provides a solution. (Also see the Projects Section in this book, “Learning Animal Anatomy Without Dissection.”)
Rainforest Teacher’s Packet. Rainforest Action Network, 221 Pine St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94104. Educational materials listed on www.ran.org; Phone: 415-398-4404. Students and others may sign up for “action alerts” on issues affecting the world’s rainforests.
The Rainforest Book. How you can save the world’s rainforests, by Scott Lewis with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Living Planet Press, 1990. Aimed toward students, the text has chapters on the importance of rainforests, both tropical and US temperate rainforests, how they can be saved and how individuals can help with specific examples of aiding organizations, encouraging local businesses not to buy rainforest products, visiting rainforests, adopting an acre of rainforest, and further reading, films and other information sources.
Save America’s Forest. Citizen Action Guide. The activist organization, Save America’s Forests, has published a 51-page how-to guide for citizens and/or students to work within communities to educate others on the decline of America’s forests from clearcutting and over-harvesting. It is available online at www.saveamericasforestsfund.org. Also available from this organization, a slide show, “Clearcuts Coast to Coast” (purchase or rental); an annotated bibliography on forests; and the award-winning video, “The Last Ancient Forests” (11 minutes, purchase $7). Save America’s Forests, 4 Library Ct., SE, Washington, DC 20003; www.saveamericasforests.org; Phone: 202-544-9219.
Science Teacher. National Science Teachers Association, 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201-3000; Phone: 703-243-7100; www.nsta.org. Published nine times a year, this is a valuable periodical, aiding teachers of environmental subjects.
Teacher’s Guide to World Resources and Biodiversity (ISBN 0-7872-4259-4), 2001. This guide provides economic, ecological, ethical and esthetic reasons why we should care that species are becoming extinct. Students explore the root causes of biodiversity loss and strategies for conservation. Cost is $9.99. Published and distributed by Kendall Hunt, it can be ordered online through their Web site. The site also includes “Endangered Forests” and many other titles on the environment. Discounts are given to teachers who order in bulk. Web site
“Understanding Biodiversity.” Encyclopedia Britannica’s 19-minute video is aimed at high school students. It stresses the need for ecosystems to have diverse life forms and the important roles different types of scientists play in biodiversity preservation. The cloud forests of Venezuela are the background for teaching this subject. A Teacher’s Guide is included, listing objectives and suggestions for classroom discussion topics. Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation (1-800-554-9862).
“Britannica. Electronic Media Catalog” descries many videos (without teachers’ guides) on the environment and wildlife. It also offers a “Guide to Dissection,” in which a video software package with four parts shows dissections of a rat, frog, pigeon and dogfish. Using software, the student can do a virtual dissection with a computer mouse.
Video Project. Free catalog of educational environmental videos for use in schools and libraries. Video Project, P.O. Box 77188, San Francisco, CA 94107; Phone: 1-800-4-PLANET; www.videoproject.net.
Letters and artwork from students around the world are published on the site. Through the Web site, students can write the scientists working on various projects for the organization. The newsletter for the general membership, On the Edge, often focuses on particular endangered species; recent issues may be accessed through the Web site under “Field Notes,” with the year of publication. The organization in the United Kingdom, which publishes the newsletter The Dodo Dispatch (ages 7-16), and the Canadian sister organization can be reached through the Web site as well. The Wildlife Trust, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964-8000; Phone: 845-365-8337; www.wildlifetrust.org.
Wildlife Review Abstracts, National Information Services Corporation, 3100 St. Paul St., Suite 806, Baltimore, MD 21218. Formerly a quarterly report published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, these annotated bibliographies are now a privately run database system with 514,000 entries of publications on wildlife and the environment, indexed by species, subject and geographical areas. Abstracts from wildlife, fisheries, ornithological, ecological and forestry journals are sold through a yearly subscription for $1,045. The data is available on CD-ROM and is compiled from many sources. The Wildlife Species Information Library at the site includes data on habitats in states from a DOS-based CD-ROM or 45,000 pages of online species’ profiles. Phone: 410-243-0797; www.nisc.com.