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Database Provider


The Climate Initiative


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


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Maine

Species Extinction

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  • This article examines important statistics regarding the current mass extinction event, the role humans play in this mass extinction, and what the consequences will be if the mass extinction isn't stopped.
  • Students will learn that the current rate of species extinctions is many times higher than the normal rate, with habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and overharvesting causing a global decline in biodiversity.
Teaching Tips


  • This article provides some quick facts at the top for reference and perspective.
  • This article has excellent photos of animals.

Additional Prerequisites

  • If you scroll down to the section titled "Act Now to #slowtherise" you'll find resources on how to fight against the Holocene extinction.
  • If you click the bracketed numbers within the article you'll be taken to the credible sources of this article's information.


  • This article could support a lesson on how the destruction of ecosystems negatively affects human populations.
  • This article could augment a lesson on previous mass extinctions that have occurred in Earth's history and how this event is different.
  • This article could enhance a classroom discussion on the political and economic systems that contribute to environmental degradation.
  • With middle school students, it may be useful to define some words before they dive into the reading.
  • The article makes a reference to biodiversity being like a game of Jenga, with each species in an ecosystem being a block. Have students get in groups to play a game of Jenga and see how many blocks they can pull out before it comes crashing down, asking students to hypothesize why some "ecosystems" may crumble far sooner than others.
Scientist Notes
This resource from The Climate Initiative discusses the causes of the 6th Extinction that is leading to a significant loss of species on Earth. A discussion about how the extinction rate is accelerating due to climate change, overhunting, pollution, and habitat destruction is provided, along with how the rate of extinction is now compared to previous catastrophic events that wiped out large percentages of species. The article covers climate change and human activities, such as resource consumption and habitat destruction, that are major threats to Earth's biodiversity. This resource would be a great addition to a classroom discussion on species extinction due to climate change.

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

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.6.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
      • RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development and how they interact to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
    • 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.
      • 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.
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