Extinction is the complete disappearance of a species from Earth. Species go extinct every year, but historically the average rate of extinction has been very slow with a few exceptions. The fossil record reveals five uniquely large mass extinction events during which significant events such as asteroid strikes and volcanic eruptions caused widespread extinctions over relatively short periods of time. Some scientists think we might have entered our sixth mass extinction event driven largely by human activity. Our planet is dependent on an interconnected system. If we lose one species, how does that impact the whole system? What if we lose hundreds?
Help your students understand the gravity of extinction with these classroom resources.