Beyond IQ

Changing Life: Extinction, Evolution, Conservation

  • 31 Jan 2019
  • (PST)
  • 16 May 2019
  • (PDT)
  • 16 sessions
  • 31 Jan 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PST)
  • 07 Feb 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PST)
  • 14 Feb 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PST)
  • 21 Feb 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PST)
  • 28 Feb 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PST)
  • 07 Mar 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PST)
  • 14 Mar 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 21 Mar 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 28 Mar 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 04 Apr 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 11 Apr 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 18 Apr 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 25 Apr 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 02 May 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 09 May 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • 16 May 2019, 8:45 AM 9:45 AM (PDT)
  • Online


  • Get a registration discount if you are a GHF Member. We are not currently set up for new memberships - if you are interested in becoming a member, send an e-mail to courses@giftedconference - as soon as memberships can be set up, we will arrange a refund of that part of your fee.


Course Description:

Life on Earth is always changing.  Organisms and their environments are always interacting, and that can lead to growth or reductions of populations depending on the conditions.  Because all organisms are linked in an ecology, a small change with one organism could produce big changes in others.  Sometimes this leads to extinction of a species, sometimes this can lead to evolution of new traits that help an organism to survive.  Humans can influence these changes: directly through selective breeding and indirectly through environmental or ecological changes.

This class will use foundational concepts like ecology, evolution, and taxonomies to examine changes in organism populations and ecosystems.  We will look at natural changes, human-influenced changes, and human-directed changes.  Also, we will discuss conservation and different ways it can be done, as well as ethical concerns about some methods, like zoos and reviving extinct species.

Recommended Age Range:

9-12 years old




Week 1: Introduction - How is the natural world changing?  What are topics you are interested in? 

Week 2: Organisms and Ecosystems - What is an organism? What is an ecosystem?  What is an environment?  How do these interact? Can an organism be an environment?         

Week 3: Natural Selection - What happens if an environment changes so much that an organism can’t thrive or survive?  How does environmental change happen? Can humans cause environmental change?

Week 4: Anthropogenic Selection - What are ways that humans can affect organisms?  What are some examples of intentional and unintentional human-generated selection?  Can humans change ourselves?  

Week 5: Selective Breeding - What are some organisms that humans have intentionally changed over time?  For what reasons have we changed them?  Is it beneficial for the organisms? Is it ethical?

Week 6: Unintentional Selection - What are some ways that humans have changed the environments of organisms unintentionally?  How have some organisms adapted?

Week 7: BREAK

Week 8: Extinction - What does it mean to be extinct?  What does it mean to be threatened?  Are there other ways to describe extinction? 

Week 9: Conservation - What are things that we are doing to prevent extinctions?  Why do we talk about saving a species?  Do we prefer to save some species over others?        

Week 10: New Earth - In what ways has the Earth been changed permanently?  What are some permanent changes that have happened in Earth’s history?  What can we do about them?

Week 11: Issue: Zoos/Habitats - Why are zoos and other human-made habitats controversial?  What are some ways that they help conservation? What are some ways they are not good for organisms?                     

Week 12: Issue: Genetically Modified Organisms - What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?  What are different ways that crops are genetically modified, and for what reasons?  

Week 13: Issue: Gene Banks and Jurassic Park – What are the benefits and harms of collecting genetic samples to revive organisms in the future?  Should we do this?

Week 14: Final Project Topic - We will discuss final project topic ideas   

Week 15: Final Project Research - Come ready to share some research you have done on your topic

Week 16: Final Project Presentations - This is your opportunity to share your project in a 5 minute presentation.

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