How Can We Protect Animals When Their Habitat Changes?

How Can We Protect Animals When Their Habitat Changes?

This module is currently being field tested and is not available for purchase.

How Can We Protect Animals When Their Habitat Changes? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is designed to address a bundle of grade 3 engineering and life science standards. In this module, students:

  • Compare fossils to modern organisms to explain that some animals that once lived are no longer found on Earth
  • Identify the problem of modern animals being in danger of disappearing from Earth
  • Analyze data to explain what happens to some animals when their habitat is built on
  • Design a salamander tunnel that will solve the problem of salamanders dying trying to get to their vernal (breeding) pool
Module Background Information

The Burgess Shale Formation

This blog post describes the discovery of fossilized dinosaur footprints in Scotland.


Dinosaur Footprints 

This blog post describes the discovery of fossilized dinosaur footprints in Scotland.


The Age of Humans: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Anthropocene

This website has more information on the Anthropocene epoch.


Lesson 1: What on Earth

Family Letter

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Before starting How Can We Protect Animals When Their Habitat Changes?, share the Family Letter with students’ caregivers. Indicate how they should submit responses to the letter.



Download PDF

This file shows how trilobites and roly-polies are related.



Download Image

This file shows an image of a replica fossil of a trilobite.



Download PDF

This file shows an image of the Anti-Atlas Mountains in Morocco, where many trilobite fossils are found.


Lesson 2: She Sorts Seashells

Dating Fossils

This website explains techniques used by Smithsonian scientists to date fossils.


Lesson 4: Dinosaur Dig

Cassowary (0:18 minutes)

Download Video

This video shows a large cassowary walking around.


Lesson 5: Fossil CSI

Smithsonian Scientist Email

Download File

This file is a letter from a Smithsonian scientist with information about the replica fossil. Add your name and your class name to the email.


Trilobite Illustration

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This file shows an image from a Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History exhibit. It is an artist’s illustration of what the ocean might have looked like when the trilobite was alive.


Lesson 7: Camera Trap


eMammal is a Smithsonian-run website that allows groups to share and identify camera trap images.


The Science of Camera Traps

Alexandra Swanson, PhD, University of Oxford, and Roland Kays, PhD, North Carolina State University, discuss the use of camera traps in ecological research.


Virginia Woodland

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This file shows an image of a woodland habitat in Northern Virginia.


Woodland Animals

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This file shows 30 images taken by camera traps in Northern Virginia.



This website is where citizen scientists can help scientists identify animals in Singita Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania.



Lesson 10: Tiger, Tiger

Rescuing Species

Elizabeth Hadly, PhD, Stanford University, discusses the effect of habitat loss on genetic diversity of tigers.


Tiger Men

This blog post discusses the history of tigers in India and the people who have helped protect them. 


Tiger Simulation

The Tiger simulation is available as a website for computers. Use the application on tablets or mobile devices (not available for field testing). We recommend playing the simulation in either Mozilla Firefox or Safari.

This simulation allows students to observe the effect of land development (farms) on tiger populations.

Please note that the field testing simulation does not include roads.


Lesson 11: Designing Reserve Models

Designing a Zoo Exhibit

This blog post describes the process for designing a zoo exhibit.


Conservation Comics

This website includes sample comics and a comic strip template developed by the Smithsonian.


Lesson 13: Wildlife Corridors

3-D Corridors

This file contains 3-D images of an underpass and an overpass. Use the controls to look at the underpass and overpass from all angles.

The 3-D images are not available for field testing.

Kit Tips & Tricks