Learning Objectives

Students will read a recent science news article and discuss the content.
Depending the on the article, students may be asked to draw connections to current events or other classroom exercises.

Standards Addressed

Depending on the article, one of these standards may be most appropriate:

Subject Area - 1: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

     Standard Area - 1.3: Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature - Fiction and Non-Fiction

          Grade Level - 1.3.6: GRADE 6

               Standard - 1.3.6.A: Read, understand, and respond to works from various genres of literature

                    Assessment Anchor - R6.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.

Preparation Time Needed

<30 minutes, enough time to read the article and associated questions, answer the questions, and possibly come up with more that are relevant to recent class exercises. 

Activity Description

(Part of the PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.)

De-extinction is a new and controversial topic that involves resurrecting extinct species from the past. Some of these species’ extinctions were a direct result of human over-hunting, while others were more ‘natural’. Using biotechnological processes, scientists have discovered methods that can make this seemingly science-fiction experiment a reality.

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • Define de-extinction. Name a Hollywood movie that has showcased the idea of de-extinction.
  • List some species that are in contention for being revived from extinction. For the species you list, find the year or estimated time period that species originally went extinct, and what the possible cause(s) of extinction might be.
  • Why are dinosaurs not eligible for de-extinction?
  • What are the techniques that can be used for de-extinction? Explain the processes needed to bring species “back form the dead.”
  • Do you think that it is a good use of time and money to de-extinct these species, or should the resources be spent on species that are currently endangered? Explain.
  • Are there some species that you think deserve to be brought back and others that do not? Why or why not?
  • If de-extinction is successful, should species be reintroduced to natural habitats? What are some of the complications of this approach?
  • In your opinion, is de-extinction messing with natural selection, and if so, how could this impact current species?

Compiled April 1, 2013, by M. Witter. Teachers are encouraged to search for more recent articles and related discoveries.

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