I teach Environmental Science in high school. One activity I do during the Ecology unit is have each of the students select one plant or animal they would like to vote off the planet. After they select their species, they make an argument for why they chose what they chose. The exercise is designed for them to understand what the negative impact would be on the ecology of the environment if they were to get their wish. If the lesson works as planned, they understand how the food webs especially are impacted.
It probably would not take much of an imagination to figure out what the usual suspects are. You will be able to view them when you click on this creative poll. What is challenging, however, is to really understand how these unwanted species can have a positive impact on our environment. For those of you who are too far removed from school to remember the lesson, the idea is that all species on the planet serve a purpose to the larger picture. Most are food for another species. Some help control the population of others. What’s more, in a world that is increasingly losing species to extinction, it is vital that we hold on to each and every plant and animal we can, if for no other reason than diversity.
Forget about the negative environmental consequences for a minute, however. Let’s just have some fun, play God, and wipe out an entire species. Which one will it be? Poll Smash has selected the top “usual suspects” that typically come up in this conversation. Vote now to contribute to this fictional, yet educational poll. We are looking forward to finding out how the Poll Smash community will vote.