Changing Life: Extinction, Evolution, Conservation

Changing Life: Extinction, Evolution, Conservation

This class will look at ecological concepts like extinction, evolution, adaptation, and conservation, with a focus on anthropogenic (human-caused) change.

Part 1 is focused on introducing these scientific concepts and connecting them to real situations and examples in an interactive, discussion-oriented environment to promote retention of knowledge.

In part 2 we will explore and discuss current events and issues in the social and policy arenas like zoos for conservation and publicity, NGOs and other organizations working for conservation, and uses of science and technology to bring back extinct and endangered species.

Section 1: January 21-March 11

Section 2: March 22-May 10

Class Details

Class Duration:
Section 1
Part 1: January 21-February 11
Part 2: February 18-March 11

Section 2
Part 1: March 22-April 12
Part 2: April 19-May 10

Class Size:
2-8 participants

Age Range: 11-14 (10 with instructor approval)

Both Parts: $230
Both Parts with Feedback: $270

Part 1 Only: $120
Part 1 with Feedback: $140

Part 2 Only: $120
Part 2 with Feedback: $140

Life on Earth is always changing. Organisms and their environments are always interacting, and that can lead to growth or reductions of populations depending on the conditions. Because all organisms are linked in an ecology, a small change with one organism could produce big changes in others. Sometimes this leads to extinction of a species, sometimes this can lead to evolution of new traits that help an organism to survive. Humans can influence these changes: directly through selective breeding and indirectly through environmental or ecological changes.

This class will learn about, explore, and discuss current events and issues in the social and policy arenas like zoos for conservation and publicity, organizations that are working for conservation, and uses of science and technology to bring back extinct and endangered species.

This class will learn and apply foundational concepts like ecology, evolution, and taxonomies to examine changes in organism populations and ecosystems like invasive species and extinction. We will look at natural changes, human-influenced changes, and human-directed changes to biodiversity.

Part 1 will look at ecological concepts like extinction, evolution, adaptation, and conservation, with a focus on anthropogenic (human-caused) change. This part is focused on the interdisciplinary and social side of issues like extinction, habitat destruction, and conservation, looking at issues like zoos and genetic engineering.

Part 2 will explore these concepts with a focus on introducing these scientific concepts and connecting them to real situations and examples in an interactive, discussion-oriented environment to promote retention of knowledge.

Section 1

Part 1: January 18-February 11; live meetings on Thursdays from 2-3pm Eastern/1-2pm Central/12-1pm Mountain/11am-12pm Pacific

Part 2: February 18-March 11: Thursdays from 2-3pm Eastern/1-2pm Central/12-1pm Mountain/11am-12pm Pacific

Section 2

Part 1: March 22-April 12: Mondays from 3-4pm Eastern/2-3pm Central/1-2pm Mountain/12-1pm Pacific

Part 2: April 19-May 10: Mondays from 3-4pm Eastern/2-3pm Central/1-2pm Mountain/12-1pm Pacific

Google Drive, Zoom required. Discord recommended. Webcam and Microphone optional. Headphones/earphones required (to prevent feedback).

1-2 hours outside of class each week

Read/listen/watch and recall relevant information.
Communicate facts and information to peers and instructor.
Focus attention on relevant material.
Ability to accept ambiguity and complexity in moral issues (no clear right/wrong, no good/bad people)
Take initiative to research about a chosen topic as preparation for class.

Introductory knowledge of ecological concepts like ecosystem, population vs individual adaptation, extinction, endangered species, conservation, invasive species, human factors in extinction. (Part 1)

Learn about, explore, research, and discuss current events and issues related to extinction, conservation efforts, and controversies around species and ecosystem preservation.  If student opts in: create an argument, create informative presentation, how to get involved. (Part 2)

Choice in individual topics to research as preparation for live meetings

Discussion of harm to animals (zoos, hunting), extinction, activism. Students need to respect the lifestyles, diets, and cultural choices of each other.

See this teacher’s policies on things like refunds, missing class, and behavioral expectations. (Click here to see the policies.)

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