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Teacher Toolbox - Elephants

Welcome to the Teacher Toolbox! Here you will find a broad variety of instructional resources to compliment your students' viewing of Saving a Species: Elephants. Use these materials to construct lesson plans, spark discussion, and inspire your students to become active participants in preserving the world we share with wildlife.

See Elephant Video Series




  • adaptation: a modification of an organism that makes it more suited to live in its environment.  Adaptations help an organism survive.
  • biodiversity: the genetic variability of living organisms on our planet.
  • herbivore: plant-eating animal.
  • conservation: taking care of our environment by wisely managing its resources.
  • ecosystem: a unit of plants, animals, and nonliving components of an environment that interact.
  • endangered species: a species of plant or animal of which numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate and is threatened with extinction by human-made or natural changes in the environment.
  • food chain: a simple straight line diagram that shows "who eats whom" in an ecosystem.
  • food web: a diagram that shows the many complex interconnections of "who eats whom" in an ecosystem.
  • habitat: the place where a plant or an animal lives.
  • keystone species: a species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically.
  • poaching: illegal hunting or collecting.
  • population: a group of plants or animals of the same species that live in the same area and have the opportunity to breed with each other.
  • preservation: protecting resources, ecosystems, and structures for present and future generations.
  • threatened species: facing possible threat of extinction, but not facing as great a threat as an endangered species.  Threatened species may become endangered.
  • vocalization: sounds produced for auditory communication.



Activity Descriptions | K-4

Activity Descriptions | 5-8

Activity Descriptions | 9-12

Teacher's Guides


Pre & Post-Viewing Questions

Elephants: Sharing Space

  • Humans have been challenged to share space with elephants.  Give examples of how humans and elephants are coming in conflict. Brainstorm ideas for helping humans and elephants share the same space.
  • Elephants are a keystone species.  Define this term and give examples of how the presence of elephants impacts other species.
  • What is an herbivore and what role do large herbivores like elephants play in seed dispersal?


Elephants: To the Rescue

  • Poaching continues to significantly impact elephant populations.  Define this term and describe why poaching occurs.
  • What is the Ivory Trade Ban and how has it impacted elephants?  Name another conservation effort that is underway to help elephants.


Elephants: Learning Together

  • By training and working closely with elephants in zoological parks, researchers are able to study elephant behavior and biology up close.  Why is it important to study elephants?
  • What is positive reinforcement and how is it used in animal training?  Can you name some positive reinforcements that elephants enjoy?


Elephants: Knowledge = Power

  • Learning as much about nature in your own backyard can help preserve the species that share space with you. Create a list of the animals (and plants, too) that are found where you live. Are any of them endangered or threatened? What are some things you can do to make your space more animal- and plant-friendly.
  • No matter where you live, you can help protect elephants.  Brainstorm ways you and your family can help save elephants from extinction.