Predators in Peril
Merge the Print Version of Science World With 21st Century Tools!
Follow this digital lesson plan of "Predators in Peril” designed especially for your interactive whiteboard.
Sharks are an integral part of the ocean food web. But their populations are struggling because of over fishing and unintentional capture. Now, an unlikely ally—shark-attack survivors—has gathered in Washington D.C. to raise awareness for legislation to protect these fearsome predators.
Curriculum Area: Life
Special Focus: Conservation
National Science Education Standards
- Grades 5-8: Populations and ecosystems
- Grades 9-12: Natural and human-induced hazards
1. Before You Start
Download the PowerPoint that accompanies this issue’s article and project it onto your interactive whiteboard.
2. Discuss Before Viewing the PowerPoint Lesson
Prime your students for the lesson by telling them that they will be learning about how sharks are declining in number and how a group of shark-attack survivors is working to help them. Introduce them to some of the information they will encounter in the PowerPoint they are about to view. Ask them:
- Do you think that sharks are struggling for survival?
- What do you think the term “shark-finning” means?
- What type of people would you expect to help rally to save sharks?
3. View the PowerPoint
- Click through the PowerPoint in Slide Show mode.
- After discussing slide 7 together as a class, pause and have students open to the article, “Predators in Peril,” on page 8 of their print edition of Science World.
- Project the digital version of "Predators in Peril” onto your interactive whiteboard.
4. Discuss Before Reading the Article
Tell students that they are about to read an article about the shark-attack survivor group they just saw in the PowerPoint and learn why sharks need protection. To connect the content from the PowerPoint to the article, ask students these questions:
- If a shark had attacked you in the past, would you now want to help them?
- Do you think that the shark species at the greatest risk of extinction should be protected?
5. Read the Article
Have students begin reading “Predators in Peril” on page 8 of their print magazines. Keep the digital version of the article onscreen in case you need to reference it during reading or if students have questions.
6. Test Student’s Diagram-Reading Skills
Download the "What’s For Dinner?" skills sheet here. Use it either on your interactive whiteboard or as a handout to test students' diagram-reading skills.
NOTE: The Answers to the skills sheet are:
- The seal eats small fish and large fish. The small fish eat zooplankton and phytoplankton.
- In the diagram, the only producers are the phytoplankton that use the sun’s energy to make their own food. The zooplankton, birds, small fish, large fish, squid, sperm whale, crustaceans, seal, tiger shark, and humans are all consumers.
- Answers will vary but should include: The tiger shark has the most arrows pointing to it. This is because it is an apex predator that is at the top of the food web.
- Answers will vary but should include: The animals that have two or more arrows pointing to them tend to be larger and tend to be vertebrates.
- Answers will vary but should include: If sharks were removed from the food chain, the system could be thrown off balance. The animals that it eats might not be kept in check and their populations could boom. This could then lead to a shortage in fish or other animals that these new apex predators eat.
7. Engage Students in Project-Based Learning
Project the last slide from the PowerPoint you showed earlier.
- Tell students it is project time.
- Challenge them to imagine that they were planning to attend a “Save the Sharks” rally in Washington, D.C.
- Have them create a poster that includes images, a slogan, and facts that would convince the government to create legislation to protect sharks.
- For more resources and activities, download this issue's Teacher's Edition.