In this lesson, students will analyze an from National Geographic that discusses the design of an artificial intelligence technology called PAWS that was designed to prevent poaching. PAWS uses data about previous poaching activities and analyzes the data to create smart and efficient routes for wildlife officers to use while looking for poaching activity. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: poaching, artificial intelligence, PAWS, technology, protecting environment, protecting animals, conservation, informational text, text complexity
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain how PAWS may be able to help wildlife officials stop poaching and other illegal wildlife crimes.
- Describe how creative thought was a vital part of the development and implementation of PAWS.
- Identify any unknowns about how effective the PAWS technology may be in the long-term fight against poaching.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Provide an accurate summary of the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
With regard to science content knowledge:
- Students should understand what the term "poaching" refers to. The examples of poaching in this article primarily relate to illegal wildlife trafficking. This provides the definition of poaching according to USLegal.com.
- Students should be familiar with conservation status definitions and the status of various animals, including elephants, tigers, etc. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species can provide information for students as needed.
- Students should have an understanding of what artificial intelligence refers to and be familiar with some different examples of AI. The article "10 Examples of Artificial Intelligence You're Using in Daily Life" from Beebom provides applications of artificial intelligence in everyday life.
With regard to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text, including use of context clues and dictionary skills.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the National Geographic article used in this lesson include a title, subtitle, headings, a photograph and caption.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site from Gallaudet University provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What is the purpose of PAWS (Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security)?
- PAWS is a tool designed to formulate routes for wildlife patrols based on data from pre
- How does PAWS work?
- PAWS uses a complex algorithm based on an idea of game theory where defenders try to optimize limited resources to prevent attacks. PAWS is the first time security game theory has been used as a tool to prevent wildlife crimes.
- What are the unknowns in regards to how effective PAWS may be in combating poaching over the long-term?
- So far, only two trial deployments have been conducted, and the researchers themselves warn that previous patrols in these deployments "aren't a perfect comparison." It is unclear how challenging terrain across different countries with varied topographies will affect the PAWS technology. In addition, although PAWS has been used in trials in Uganda and Malaysia, no arrests have been made because of this technology yet. It remains to be seen if use of this tool in future deployments will lead to arrests. Further, wildlife officials hope PAWS will allow patrols to be so effective that they will be able to free up some of their budgets to help other areas, like reducing wildlife smuggling and developing tourism. But more trials must be conducted in order to determine if the technology will be effective enough to reduce manpower for patrols, while at the same time still allowing the scaled-back patrols to stop poachers on a large scale. Finally, wildlife officials hope PAWS will undermine the work of corrupt rangers who warn poachers as to where and when patrols will take place so the poachers can conduct their crimes without getting caught. However, it remains to be seen if these unethical rangers will be able to find a way to "work the system" and still get the word out to poachers anyway.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by showing students the video "" (AAAI Video Competition, 4:57) that provides background information on PAWS. After watching the video, ask students what else they know about poaching. Many students believe poaching only occurs in areas like Africa and only affects animals like elephants and tigers.
- Explain to students there are many acts that are considered poaching, including hunting or fishing without a license, capturing or killing wildlife outside of hunting season, and killing or collecting animals listed as endangered. Point out to students that poaching occurs all around the world for many different reasons.
- Discuss how governments and conservationists have been trying to stop poachers and other illegal acts against wildlife. Address the use of dogs to track poachers, as discussed in the National Geographic article "In Africa, Tracker Dogs Join War Against Elephant Poachers," as well as improved training for wildlife officers, and changes in laws and policies to try to prevent and slow down these illegal activities. Tell students that although there has been some headway made, it is still a major concern for the survival of many animal species on Earth. Human wildlife officers serve as the primary form of protection for endangered species, however, the large sizes of land and the limited resources available give poachers a significant advantage over them. As a result, a program like PAWS is something that could potentially make a huge impact.
- Finally, let students know they will be reading the National Geographic article "Rangers Use Artificial Intelligence to Fight Poachers," which describes more about PAWS and the impact it can have on poaching.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Pass out to each student a copy of the National Geographic article "" or make it available to students electronically.
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph of the article. If using an electronic copy of the article, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide. Have students complete this guide during or after their first reading of the article. Students can work individually, in pairs, or in a small group. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies (like context clues, word parts, and dictionaries) to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, and possibly a grade. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to give alternative suggestions on ways the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Poaching is not the only reason the numbers of animals are decreasing. Although poaching in some areas is still the main problem, habitat fragmentation is considered to be one of the significant causes of loss as well.
- PAWS is not just used to prevent elephant poaching but other wildlife as well. The article tends to focus more on the elephant than any other animal.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text-dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
- After students' written responses forthesummative assessment have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overheadorwithanLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Remind students that the writing task involved several things: explaining how PAWS technology works, analyzing its effectiveness so far in combating poaching, and identifying any unknowns about the effectiveness of this technology over the long-term.
- Have students examine the introductory paragraph, especially the opening lines. (Students often struggle with ideas in how to start a written response, and they often want to repeat the prompt back in the first sentence because they are not sure what other options they have. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.)
- Point out how the last two sentences of the introduction serve as the author's claim (the argument or main point of the essay). The body paragraphs should provide supporting evidence to back up the claim.
- Ask students to read the three body paragraphs and point out the effective use of textual evidence from the National Geographic article that is used to support the author's claim.
- Have students point out the effective and accurate use of domain-specific vocabulary (e.g., artificial intelligence, topography, algorithms, snares) and academic vocabulary (e.g., poaching, conservationists, hotspots, undermine, deployment) throughout the written response.
- In the final paragraph, point out how the concluding sentences support the author's claim and briefly wraps up the essay. Point out how the end connects back to the introduction where it mentions the importance of saving at-risk animals. Brainstorm with students additional ideas about how to wrap up the piece in an engaging way (without introducing brand new information).
- To close out the lesson, depending on the needs of the teacher and skills of the students, teachers might want to provide one or more of the guiding questions for the lesson as an exit ticket.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
The prompt: Using evidence from the text, explain how PAWS technology works and analyze its effectiveness so far in combating the problem of poaching. In addition, identify any unknowns about how effective this technology may be in the long-term.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting the Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Ellen Muse
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.