Educator Resources

Class Discussion

Establish Prior Knowledge

Call on students to name some of the wonders of the world—both natural and manmade. Point out that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has created a World Heritage List. The list includes 878 natural and cultural sites that are considered to have universal value.
Tell students that the snapshot they are about to see shows three of the most recently named natural sites.

Exploration

Have students view the Snapshot and read the synopsis.

Divide the class into small groups and assign one site to each group. For each site have groups research the following: the site’s location; a description of the site; and why the site was chosen as a natural wonder.

1. Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Canada

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1285

2. Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems, France

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1115
  • http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/france__lagoons_of_new_caledonia__fact_sheet.pdf
  • http://www.new-caledonia-photos.com/New Caledonia Photo Library/Lagoon photos New Caledonia/index.html

3. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1290
  • http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/monarchbutterflies/item3004.html

4. Mount Sanqingshan National Park, China

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1292
  • http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/china__mount_sanqingshan_national_park__fact_sheet.pdf

5. Saryarka—Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1102
  • http://www.surfbirds.com/sbirdsnews/archives/2008/07/kazakh_ibas_get.html

6. Socotra Archipelago, Yemen

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1263
  • http://socotraisland.org/

7. Surtsey, Iceland

  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1267
  • http://www.vulkaner.no/n/surtsey/esurtmenu.html

8. Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona

Wrap Up

When groups are ready have them present their findings to the rest of the class. Then discuss how naming these sites as “natural wonders” will help to protect their unique environments.