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American Museum of Natural History


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 7 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


Extinct and Endangered: Insects in Peril

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  • This video addresses the important ecological role that insects play around the world, the way art is used to generate interest, action, and curiosity about insects, and the urgent need to protect natural habitats to preserve dwindling insect populations.
  • Students will learn how field biologists and entomologists are working to protect biodiversity as they attempt to understand the decline in insect populations.
Teaching Tips


  • The video features informing and engaging footage and interviews with photographers, scientists, and curators.
  • This video features footage of field work, interviews within the museum, and video clips of insects in their habitats.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource includes a complete transcript of the video.
  • Students should have prior knowledge of the concept of biodiversity.


  • Provide students with a note-taking guide to use while viewing the video, focusing on the evolution of insects, the roles that insects play in ecosystems, the threats faced by insect populations, and the role that humans play in insect population decline.
  • Give students time to read the transcript after watching this short video in order to add details to their notes, which will allow visual learners to more fully comprehend the concepts.
  • Students who require more background knowledge on the importance of biodiversity can watch this video about humans and biodiversity or watch this animated video about why biodiversity is so important.
  • Extension activities may include further research into mass extinction and its impacts using resources such as this video about species extinctions or this resource about biodiversity and extinction
  • Consider giving students time to explore the link to the exhibition and the artist's website, and then putting students into groups to research a particular endangered insect from the exhibit.
  • Art classes could discuss how the photographer in this project is using artistic expression to address insect population decline and biodiversity loss.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces the issue of insect population decline through the lens of an insect photography exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Museum curators and entomologists discuss the evolution of insects, the important roles they play in the ecosystem, and the threats insect populations face as humans continue to change the natural environment. A team performing a population survey of tiger beetles is presented to show the work being done to quantify the issue of insect population decline. This visually stunning resource presents the natural beauty of insects to engage viewers in the fight to save insect populations and is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceiving and analyzing products.
      • 1.5.8.Re7b: Compare and contrast cultural and social contexts of visual arts and how they influence ideas and emotions.
      • 1.5.12acc.Re7b: Evaluate the effectiveness of visual artworks to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of specific audiences.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 8 - Interpreting intent and meaning.
      • 1.5.8.Re8a: Interpret art by analyzing how the interaction of subject matter, characteristics of form and structure, use of media, art making approaches, and relevant contextual information contributes to understanding messages or ideas and mood conveyed.
      • 1.5.12prof.Re8a: Interpret an artwork or collection of works, supported by relevant and sufficient evidence found in the work and its various contexts.
  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
      • HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.PI.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate speaking behaviors (e.g., eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation).
      • SL.ES.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any false reasoning or distorted evidence.
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