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Classroom Activity: Extinction Stories (Irish Sign Language Resource)

Giant deer fossil skeletons on display in NMI-Natural History

Discover stories of extinction in the collections of the museum from the comfort of the classroom.

Watch curriculum-linked videos that include Irish Sign Language (ISL), and discover how animals like the giant deer, dodo and thylacine disappeared from this world. Download Teacher Notes to explore accompanying classroom activities to complement the learning outcomes.

Activity at a Glance:

Level: 1st Year to 3rd Year; Transition Year
Format: Classroom activity - resources to be used within the classroom
Duration: 30 + mins
Availability: Online and self-guided 

Teacher's Notes and Resources:

Video List: How did the Giant Irish Deer go Extinct in Ireland (1 min 39 sec); How did the Spotted Hyena go Extinct in Ireland (1 min 17 sec); How did the Dodo go Extinct (2 min); How did the Thylacine go Extinct (1 min 50sec); How did the Wolf go Extinct in Ireland (3 min 27 sec). Total: 10 min 11 sec.

The ISL inlcuded in these videos was in partnership with the Irish Sign Language STEM Glossary at Dublin City University, supported by Science Foundation Ireland. For more information about ISL STEM Glossary please visit 

Curriculum links:

Junior Certificate - Biological World

  • Element: Systems and interactions

  • Element: Sustainability

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment - Transition Unit 'Environmental Studies'


Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this classroom activity students should be able to:

  • Describe the meaning of 'extinct' and recognise examples of different extinctions throughout the Earth’s history.

  • Describe animal extinctions specific to Ireland in the distant past and more recent past e.g. case studies of giant deer, spotted hyena and wolf

  • Describe two examples of animal extinctions from around the world e.g. case studies of the dodo and thylacine.

  • Describe 'extinction' versus 'local extinction'.

  • Describe the role of conservation and identify how animals can be re-introduced into a habitat, and describe the pros and cons e.g. re-introduction programme example of Wolves in Yellowstone, USA versus Ireland.


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Natural History

Natural History,
Merrion Street,
Dublin 2,
D02 F627

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