Dance the Dodo!
My award for best new TV advert has to go to the dancing Five Alive dodo.
As soon as I saw it, my brain started whirring as I tried to think of some way of using it in a science lesson (this kind of thing happens to me a lot).
Of course, the dodo is best known as the most famous example of an extinct animal, and talking about extinction is a must when teaching natural selection and evolution.
It seems that the poor old dodo was just not cut out for the modern world as it evolved in isolation of humans and had no fear of us. So, inevitably, they were easy to catch and so hunted mercilessly.
This is not the only reason for their extinction, the others I outline in an activity on this extinction of the dodos PowerPoint presentation. Showing the advert makes an interesting start to the lesson, and then slide 1 of the presentation can be shown. Slide 2 can be printed and given to students to help them work out the causes of the dodo’s demise.
When I have taught about extinction in the past, I often go on to ask the students if they think that humans will ever become extinct, and the possible reasons why. The reasons for extinction (as shown on slide 1) can easily be applied to different situations that might happen in the future to us. What about runaway climate change (change in the environment), a deadly, contagious virus (new diseases) or even aliens hunting us (new predators). Inevitably, the students will come up with some great (if not outlandish) suggestions!