Over the course of history, Earth has experienced five mass extinction events (MEEs), which have wiped out a total of 96% of all species through natural disasters such as meteors, volcanoes, and ice ages. Earth is now in the middle of a sixth mass extinction—this one caused by human actions. Through the destruction of habitats for industrial and commercial use, illegal poaching, pollution, and the shrinking of fresh water supplies, humans have greatly impacted the environment and placed major stressors on species all over the planet.

In this course, you will gain strategies for teaching students about how Earth supports an interconnected web of living things, in which every species relies on others to keep the natural world in balance. You’ll examine how animal species become endangered or extinct, the negative ripple effects of extinctions on Earth’s habitats, and the crucial importance of reversing this trend. In addition, you’ll learn about the contributions of major scientists to our understanding of MEEs, including Georges Cuvier, Charles Lyell, and Charles Darwin. Finally, you’ll explore the interconnectivity of ecological systems, how plant and animal groups become endangered or extinct, and how humans accelerate this phenomenon.

Using the resources and strategies from this course, you will be equipped to teach students the benefits of protecting Earth’s habitats and species, and provide opportunities to work toward conservation.