An ecosystem consists of all the living and nonliving things that occur together within a particular area. An ecosystem can be small, such as a family garden, or large, such as the Amazon rainforest.
Human activity, such as deforestation has a profound impact on ecosystems. Many governments now recognise the threat that humans pose and work toward responsible ecosystem management. Ecosystem conservation is about achieving the dual goal of preserving natural ecosystems while insuring that human needs for resources are met.
The following are fun, interactive activities to help students learn more about ecosystem conservation and our relationship with nature.
Use the Britannica School (Australia) Primary level resource pack ↗ to help students learn about the different ecosystems and the threats they face. For more advanced learners, a Middle school version↗ of this resource pack is also available.
Schools subscribed to the New Zealand or Asia version of Britannica School can also access these resources:
Britannica School (New Zealand) Primary level resource pack↗
Britannica School (New Zealand) Middle level resource pack↗
Britannica School (Asia) Elementary level resource pack↗
Britannica School (Asia) Middle level resource pack↗
Activity: My Rainforest Adventure
Explore the rainforest ecosystem using content and resources from Britannica.
Visit one of the below rainforests using Google Earth and explore the environment virtually.
- Daintree Rainforest
- Amazon Rainforest
- Congo Rainforest
- Southeast Asian Rainforest
- Kinabalu National Park
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve
- Papua Rainforest
- Sapo National Park Rainforest
Using the information, describe the rainforest’s unique environment, weather patterns and any environmental challenges it faces.
Now imagine you are going on a Rainforest Adventure, with your knowledge of the rainforest environment what essentials would you pack?
Activity: AR Animals
We share the earth and its many ecosystems with a huge variety of animal life, from the tiniest insects to the largest ocean animal, the blue whale or the largest land animal, the elephant. “According to The Nature Conservancy, a 4-square-mile (2,560 acres) area of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies” (Bradford, 2018, para. 7).
Using Google’s 3D Animals, you can ‘encounter’ animals from rainforests (or any other ecosystem) using AR technology. Simply perform a Google search on any of the animals below, if your device is compatible, you will see the option to ‘View in 3D’ at the top of your search results, tap and enjoy.
- Ball Python
- Brown Bear
- Emperor Penguin
- Giant Panda
Human impact, for a variety of reasons puts many animals and their habitats in danger. As a class, make a list of these reasons. (HINT: Explore Britannica’s article on “Endangered Species” and look under the heading “Causes”)
Select one of the rainforest animals from the Britannica School resource pack and research its habitat, appearance, diet, behaviour, life cycle and the challenges it faces/conservation efforts.
Activity: Battling Deforestation
One of the largest threats to the rainforest ecosystem is logging and deforestation.
Discuss ways you can decrease the number of trees that are logged each year.
Use the interactive map found on the Global Forest Watch website to explore regions of deforestation around the world.
Read the Britannica article about “deforestation” and use the information you have gathered to create a news article about minimising the effects of deforestation.
These activities and resources have been created using content from Britannica School, the go-to site for safe, comprehensive student research. Contact your librarian to find out if your institution already has access. Find out more about Britannica School or set up your own free trial.
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