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Regional Focus


Are We Living in the Sixth Extinction?

Author: Be Smart
Grades: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences
Format: YouTube Video
Resource Type:
  • Video, 9 minutes, 11 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • This PBS video discusses the current and historic rates of species extinctions and the current and historic causes of species extinctions on Earth. 
  • Students will specifically learn about the ways our actions have affected the planet and biodiversity. 
Teaching Tips


  • The video prompts students to think about what should be done about the loss of biodiversity and species extinctions, giving them an opportunity to discuss and brainstorm.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You may want to prepare some additional questions or discussion topics to include after the video to stimulate the discussion.


  • Pausing and checking for understanding during the video might be helpful for some students.
  • Other resources related to this topic include this data resource and this interactive map.
Scientist Notes

Every species, either big or small, is worth saving. The resource outlines the rate of invasive species, migration, and extinction. Students can explore to see how climate change has impacted these species, causing defaunation, migration, and loss. The resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
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