North America's largest bird, the California condor, came perilously close to extinction in the early 1980s when their total population numbered only 22 individuals. Since that time, scientists have conducted an ambitious conservation program in which they captured all 22 birds and bred them in captivity, then gradually released individuals into the wild. Although the species is not fully out of danger yet, today there are more than 500 California condors, and more than half of them live in the wild. Elementary educators interested in bringing the condors' story into their classrooms may want to check out CondorKids, which features a fully-developed, standards-aligned curriculum package containing a total of 27 lesson plans in biology, geography, history, and conservation. Designed with active learning in mind, this curriculum is intended for third-grade students, and an enrichment curriculum for ninth-grade students is planned. Visitors can download the entire curriculum for free as a single PDF, and a variety of supplementary resources, such as photos, videos, and assessment worksheets are also available. CondorKids was created by the Santa Barbara Zoo and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and in 2016, it received the Superintendent's Award for Excellence in Education.
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