Preserving Biodiversity: Lesson Plan

Explain how the use, protection and conservation of natural resources impact the environment, including biodiversity, from one generation to the next.

UNC-TV Media


  • Half Earth: E.O. Wilson Interview
  • The Library of Plants

Reporter's Blog:

  • How Much of the Earth is Protected?
  • Growing North Carolina's Botanical Industry

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • EEn.2.7.2 — Explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere.

Learning Outcomes

Students will explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere.

Essential Questions

  1. What is biodiversity?
  2. Why is biodiversity important to the biosphere?
  3. How does the use of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next? 
  4. How does protection and conservation of natural resources by humans impact the environment from one generation to the next?

Essential Vocabulary

  • Natural resources 
  • Hydrosphere 
  • Biodiversity 
  • Renewable resources
  • Atmosphere 
  • Conservation 
  • Nonrenewable resources
  • Sustainable use 
  • Sustainability
  • Lithosphere
  • Pollution
  • Deforestation
  • Reclamation
  • Reforestation
  • Bioremediation
  • Global climate change


Students will watch the UNC-TV Science video Half Earth, and answer the questions on the attached PDF.


The class will complete the Explore activity on the attached PDF.

Students can use the websites listed below as a starting point for their research. Encourage students to use other websites they are comfortable with, but that are still reliable sources. Some websites may contain links to other pages that can be helpful.


  • Ecology Dictionary — 
  • Natural Resources —
  • Natural Resources and Recycling —
  • Global Warming Overview —
  • Air Pollution —
  • Freshwater Pollution —
  • Sources and Causes of Water Pollution —
  • Biodiversity Crisis —
  • Sustainable Resources —
  • Sustainable Resources —



After students have completed their research in the Explore section, they will present the results of their research to their classmates. Groups one, two and three will make presentations to each other and groups four, five and six will do the same. Students can prepare a PowerPoint presentation or another form of their choice.


Researchers at the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository are working to preserve plants native to North Carolina by identifying, cataloguing and saving seeds in a long-term seed storage facility. Seed saving is becoming more important to future generations as plant species are going extinct at a rate higher than background extinction rates. Students will view the NC Science Now video The Library of Plants. After watching the video, students should answer the following questions. They can discuss their answers with a partner or in small groups. 

  1. What are researchers at the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository doing with plants?
  2. What is the primary goal of the researchers at Bent Creek? 
  3. How are the goals of researchers at Bent Creek related to biodiversity and protecting biodiversity?
  4. What is the importance of the fungi that grow inside the plants?


Students will work independently to create a video for Grade 5 students. The video should contain the following information:

  • Define the terms biodiversity and biosphere and explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere.
  • Explain how the use of natural resources by humans impacts the environment, including biodiversity, for current and future generations.
  • Define and explain the concepts of sustainability and sustainable use.
  • Explain why it is important to use a resource sustainably. 
  • List and explain ways students can use resources sustainably and help promote the sustainable use of resources.