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Wonders of Nature: Biodiversity

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Lesson Overview

In this Wonders of Nature eLesson students will study the organisms of different natural habitats, reflect on the incredible biodiversity that God has woven into His creation, and discuss why He might have done this. 

Lesson Materials

Activity Instructions

  1. For homework the night before teaching this lesson, arrange your students into groups based on the habitats of living things: grassland, deciduous forest, coniferous forest, desert, freshwater, marine, taiga. Have students research their assigned habitat for homework and choose an organism that lives in it that they did not know about before. (You may want to subdivide the groups to look for different types of organisms in the habitat: plants, algae, animals, fungi.) Have them bring in an image of the organism, and, on another sheet of paper, write the common and scientific name of the organism and its habitat.
  2. Prior to class, prepare a sheet of lined paper and a pen. As students enter your room, have them write the name of their organism and its habitat on one line and leave a blank beside it. Once all students have done so, make a copy of the list for each student in the class.
  3. Next, have students post their organism images they selected for homework around the room with a number on each image. (Distribute tape or sticky tack if necessary.) Alternatively, you could have students leave their images at their desks facing up, rather than posting them.
  4. Then, have students walk around to the different images and try to identify each one. They should write the number of each organism beside the name/habitat they think it is on the list you distributed. They should return to their seat when they are done.
  5. Once all students have finished, go around the room pointing to the images one at a time, and have their owners tell the class the correct answer. You may also have them say a few quick facts about the organism.
  6. Next, ask students to reflect for a moment on the question: How can it be that there are so many different types of living things? Not only are there different categories of living things, like fungi, plants, and animals, but also so very many varieties within these categories!
  7. Then, have your students turn to Wonders of Nature: Biodiversity and, working in pairs or trios, contemplate the images using the discussion questions to guide their conversation. Note that each group will need a Bible for the final reflection question.
  8. When they have finished, call on groups to share about their discussions. Allow the conversation to go in unexpected places, while directing it towards an appreciation for how biodiversity is a sign of our loving Creator, and how the beauty of nature bears witness to God.
  9. Close by praying Psalm 8 aloud followed by a few moments of silent prayer.

Answer Key

  1. Accept reasoned answers.
  2. Accept reasoned answers.
  3. Students may say because of God鈥檚 love for us or because they reflect God who is transcendent beauty. They may point to evolutionary processes that have beautifully adapted living things to their environment. If students respond with strictly biological processes, ask them to consider why some things are alive and some are not. How does evolution account for the creation of living things? For the increasing complexity of living things? Or for the differences between animals which lack self-consciousness, and humans, who have it? (Note: it can do none of these things). Ultimately, the answer to why they are all so beautiful lies in the One who created them. The beauty of nature bears witness to God.
  4. Any process that results in an increased complexity or adaptability of the organisms to their environment cannot be done all by itself. In the same way that other events where we see a product that is superior to its previous form, this increased complexity requires a cause 鈥 a purposeful input of energy and intelligence. (This is the connection to entropy.)
  5. When we experience the beauty of nature and are attentive to the movements of our soul, we find that we have a longing for even greater beauty. Beauty wounds us, because we long to be in the presence of ultimate Beauty, God Himself. Accept additional reasoned answers.
  6. Our knowledge is limited compared to God, who created all, defined the limits of all created things, and gave everything its purpose and power. This Scripture does not mean we should not try to learn what we can about the natural world, but it is good to maintain a humble awareness of the limits of knowledge we are even capable of attaining, and the proper attitude of wonder and awe we should have for the Creator (Fear of the Lord) as well as reverence for His creation.

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