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Mass Extinction

NOVA scienceNOW, PBS Online

This video highlights a team of scientists who work on reconstructing the mass extinction that occurred 250 million years ago, the end of the Permian Period, and wiped out the majority of life on our planet, resetting the evolution of life. Clues suggest that deadly bacteria might have set off a chemical chain reaction that poisoned the Permian seas and atmosphere.

Video length: 13:16 minutes.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate's role in habitats ranges and adaptation of species to climate changes
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Climate impacts ecosystems and past species extinctions
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Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • In an evolution unit, use of this video will allow students to make the connection between climate change and species extinction.
  • Educator should soften the threat of another mass extinction in our lifetime that is hinted at in the end of the video. Instead, solutions should be woven into the lesson.

About the Science

  • A current hypothesis on the causes of the Permian Extinction is explored in this video. Scientists, and the methods they use to reconstruct the events that led to the mass extinction, are featured.
  • The end of the video nurtures a gloom and doom scenario that is not scientifically proven and might scare students. The claims at the end have to be softened by the educator.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This short video is very engaging and entertaining, and presents a novel hypothesis for how mas extinctions occur. The links between Permian processes and present-day environments are fascinating and clearly laid out. There are no references to peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.

About the Pedagogy

  • Background information and questions for discussion are provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

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