Penn State NASA

Goals and Learning Outcomes


Goals and Learning Outcomes


On completing this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe the record of extinction in deep geologic time;
  • explain factors that place species at risk of extinction;
  • describe how climate change and other factors have put species from a variety of different groups at risk for extinction;
  • evaluate the factors used to place species on the critically endangered category and recommend conservation strategies to save them.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What caused three of the five mass extinction events in Earth history?
  • What is the rationale for naming the current time the Anthropocene?
  • What is the cause of range shift?
  • What is the significance of “adapt, move, or die”?
  • What are the reasons islands, mountains, and high latitudes are vulnerable to climate change?
  • How is extinction risk gauged?
  • What are the major categories of the Red List of Threatened Species?
  • How are biodiversity hotspots distributed?
  • What are the causes and impacts of colony collapse disorder?
  • What are the reasons birds as a group are threatened?
  • What are the reasons amphibians as a group are threatened?
  • What are the key elements of the ecology of polar bears?
  • Why are polar bears threatened?
  • How are fire ants winning from climate change?
  • What is the impact of invasive species such as cane toads?