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Big Cats in the Classroom

Use the videos and activities below to help students understand the biology of big cats, their significance in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and the threats that they face today. We believe that education is crucial to conservation and that your efforts in the classroom make a difference.

Big Cats Initiative Sister School Program

The National Geographic Big Cats Initiative Sister School Program (BCISSP) is an interactive, community service learning opportunity that connects students in the U.S. with students across the world living near big cat populations in Africa. Funds raised from the service learning activities will purchase much-needed school supplies for sister schools in Africa while raising awareness globally.

Resources for Grades K–5

Big Cats, Big Teeth

Big Cats, Big Teeth  

Students compare the shape and size of human, lion, and gazelle teeth and jaws. Then they predict what each animal eats and decide if the animal is a meat-eater, plant-eater, or an omnivore.

Big Cats' Big Threats

Big Cats' Big Threats  

Students read the National Geographic Education article, “Big Cats’ Big Problem.” They answer questions about the threats to big cat populations and how the Big Cats Initiative is working to address those threats.

 

Big Cats in Captivity

Big Cats in Captivity  

Students watch the National Geographic video, "Kobu the Lion," and explore the negative consequences of keeping big cats in captivity and the challenges sanctuaries face in trying to care for them.

Lion Crittercam

Lion Crittercam  

Students use a Crittercam video and simulation game to learn about technologies scientists use to study the health and behavior of big cat populations. Then they explore how scientific research and technology can help to conserve big cat populations.

Cats and Their Coats

Cats and Their Coats  

Students explore what lions, tigers, and leopards look like and analyze how the animals' coats help them survive in their different habitats.

Big Cats and Their Habitats

Big Cats and Their Habitats  

Students use media resources to identify big cats and map the species ranges of the world's big cats. Then they determine each big cat's corresponding habitat and create a graphic organizer that summarizes the information.


Resources for Grades 6–8

African Savanna Community Web

African Savanna Community Web  

Students use multimedia resources and a community web to characterize and describe the environment, organisms, and feeding relationships of the African savanna ecosystem.

Conservation and Big Cats

Conservation and Big Cats  

Students read a National Geographic Education article, “Big Cats’ Big Problem,” and identify the threats to big cat populations and how the Big Cats Initiative is working to address those threats.

Tiger Trouble

Tiger Trouble  

Students compare and contrast geographic themes related to Bengal and Siberian tiger populations. They explore the strategies and challenges involved in conserving these big cats.

 

Perspectives of Lion Conservation

Perspectives of Lion Conservation  

Students watch the National Geographic video, “Lions of Gir,” from multiple perspectives to explore strategies and challenges involved in conserving the Asiatic lion population of India’s Gir Forest.

African Savanna

African Savanna  

An illustration gallery and information on the African savannah ecosystem.


Resources for Grades 9–12

Introduction to Captive Breeding

Introduction to Captive Breeding  

Students discuss endangered and threatened species and learn about captive-breeding programs.

Captive Breeding and Species Survival

Captive Breeding and Species Survival  

Students research captive-breeding programs and species-survival plans and explore the pros and cons of each.

Captive Breeding Case Studies

Captive Breeding Case Studies  

Students complete a case study for one species in a captive-breeding program and evaluate the effectiveness of the program.