- Students will understand the complexity of the concept of biodiversity.
- Students are able to distinguish between ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity.
- Students will understand how to apply the concept of biodiversity to conservation.
Success criteria: Students can …
- Know what biodiversity is.
- Do research online.
- Present information to their peers.
- Review and edit their own work and the work of others.
Teacher content information: Biodiversity is described as the combination of ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity. When conservation strategies are developed with a deep understanding of biodiversity concepts, much better conservation solutions are developed. Biodiversity is often not properly explored because old ideas are rebadged as biodiversity so it is important to get students to discover why biodiversity is bigger than the components that make it up.
There are a number of very significant sub plots within biodiversity. One example is the importance of maintaining the genetic diversity of our food crops. Genetic diversity in our crop species is an insurance policy when current crops are threatened by pests, disease, climate change, etc.
40 minutes - Part A. Student research
20 minutes - Part B. Presentation
30 minutes - Part C. Communication product
25 minutes - Part D. Peer presentation
5 minutes - Reflection
Work through this resource material in the following sequence:
Part A. Student research
Step 1. Divide the class into four main groups so all the research topics below are covered. Students will do the research and provide the class with a short report. The report should include:
- Answering the questions.
- Summarising the information as dot points.
- When giving the presentation, show website images if relevant e.g., map of Australian bioregions.
- Two or more relevant websites.
- The report to be stored electronically in an accessible class folder.
Remind students of the Search Strategies for Googling when conducting research online.
Step 2. The teacher could assign one of the following research topics, or invite students to choose the one that interests them the most:
- Genetic diversity – What is genetic diversity? How does maintaining genetic diversity help with conservation? What are examples of genetic diversity?
- Genetic diversity – How can a lack of genetic diversity in our food crops cause major problems in the future? Why is genetic diversity in food crops being lost? What is being done to ensure genetic diversity is not being lost?
- Genetic diversity – What are some of the benefits from finding out the sequence of the human genome? What are some of the future benefits?
- Species diversity – What is species diversity? Why is maintaining species diversity important? What are some of the things that threaten species diversity?
- Ecosystem diversity – What is ecosystem diversity? Why is maintaining ecosystem diversity important? What threatens ecosystem diversity?
- Genetic diversity and conservation in an ecosystem – Describe how revegetation projects attempt to obtain plants that are genetically similar to the plants that use to live in the area. What does providence mean?
- Ecosystem diversity – In Australia, what is a bioregion. How does the concept of bioregions help with conservation?
- Ecosystem diversity – EVC stands for ecological vegetation class. What is an EVC? How does this kind of research help conservation?
Step 3. Allow students the time to undertake their research and create their reports.
Part B. Presentation
Students present their reports to the class. After each presentation, their teacher leads a short discussion that highlights how the reports link to the concept of biodiversity. The teacher brings in any significant points that may have been overlooked.
Part C. Communication product
Break the class into new groups of students, ensuring that there is no one from their previous group in the new ones. In this way, the expertise is well distributed.
Invite students to choose a communication tool for their product, and explain that they are to create a communication product that will explain to an audience with no expertise the following:
- What is biodiversity?
- Why is biodiversity important to people?
- How is the idea of biodiversity helping us with conservation?
Part D. Peer presentation
Each group needs to present their communication product to the class. As each group presents, other groups should use the peer assessment tool on the Student Worksheet to provide feedback. Remind students to be kind, helpful and specific when providing feedback:
Invite students to work independently to think about what they looked at in this lesson and to complete the following sentences:
- I used to think...
- But now I think...