Begin by discussing the main question posed at the beginning of the section, “What is biological diversity?” Relate the concept of human impact on the environment from the previous section to one specific consequence of human activities-species extinction. Many students have heard about endangered species in the media. Now you can help them connect those individual animals and plants to the loss of biological diversity as a whole.
Define and discuss the difference among habitat diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity. Use the Mini Activities to help students see that these terms do not apply only to exotic tropical rain forests but also to their own neighborhood environment.
Assign Mini Activity: Count Your Habitats on page 69 and Mini Activity: Local Species on page 70 to encourage students to apply the concept of habitat diversity to their own school.
To ease any confusion students may have with the concept of genetic diversity, you may want to spend some extra time talking about genes and how they code for particular traits in organisms.
Assign Activity 11-1: Expedition to the Kalimantan Rain Forest to help students apply the concept of biological diversity to an imaginary trek through a rain forest.
Assign Enrichment 11-1: Measuring Species Diversity, which is an outdoor investigation, to let students scientifically measure (within reason) their own environment's species diversity.
After discussing the reasons for valuing biological diversity, assign Enrichment 11-2: Extinction Crisis and Enrichment 11-3: How Do You Value Biodiversity? Discuss how the extinction rate now is so much more severe than the extinction rate was in the past and why students mayor may not care about the extinction “crisis.”
You may want to assign the final What Do You Think? On page 77 as an essay to be used as assessment for this section.
Count Your Habitats
Students identify and count the number of different habitats found at school. For specific information about local flora and fauna, consult Peterson's field guides.
Students identify and categorize all the species found at school. As mentioned above you may want to consult Peterson's field guides for specific information about local flora and fauna.