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This resource is targeted for Grade 7 students in Ontario but would be appropriate for use in any middle level science class to encourage students to explore invasive plant and animal species in their area and to learn about the negative impacts associated with them. Lessons also create awareness and support student action to limit the spread of invasive species in local communities.
This learning package emphasizes the impacts that invasive species can have on domestic crop production, foreign market access, human health, land use and values, recreational opportunities, and biodiversity.
Activities include creating a public service announcement or podcast on the negative impacts of invasive species, researching a specific plant species, mapping invasive species locally, creating a farm plan which helps to control invasive species and simulating different ecological scenarios related to invasive species and the protection of crops.
This resource includes helpful appendices with fact sheets, a glossary, rubrics, a case study, activity suggestions and links to additional information.
Lesson One: Introduction to Invasive Species – What is the Impact?
After defining invasive species and their mode of introduction, students discuss their environmental and ecological impacts on ecosystems and crop production. Groups of students are then asked to create a public service announcement about an invasive species of their choice.
Lesson Two: Ontario’s Most Unwanted Invasive Species
After students sort invasive species into economic and environmental categories, they are asked to research an invasive plant species and prepare a visual presentation on the variety they selected. Working in pairs, they then create fact sheets and a booklet for use in future lessons.
Lesson Three: On the Hunt for Invasive Species
Using the student-made fact sheets from lesson two, students go on a field trip to the school yard, a wooded area, a local neighborhood, or a conservation area, to map out and take pictures of the invasive plant species they find. Students are then encouraged to call the invasive species hot line and report any sightings.
Lesson Four: Agricultural Efforts against Invasive Species
After looking at samples students create a T-chart to compare an invasive species to a plant grown by local farmers. They brainstorm possible reasons why invasive species are such competitive growers and why farmers would want to keep them out of their fields. A case study on the Environmental Farm Plan is read and students are introduced to the three ways that invasive species are controlled. (biologically, mechanically, and with chemicals). In groups students design a plan of action to control and prevent invasive species on River Run Farm.
Lesson Five: Insect invasion- Japanese Invasion
Teachers bring in a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables and facilitate a discussion on local farming and the threats and challenges which face these crops. After reading a case study on the Japanese Beetle, questions on their negative impact are discussed. Students then go to the gym to participate in a kinesthetic activity which simulates the effect of the Japanese Beetle on crops/plants.
This resource could be used in middle level science classes to meet outcomes addressing biodiversity and loss of habitat. It could also be used in geography courses to emphasize the link between human activity and environmental & economic sustainability.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
This resource focuses on the havoc that many invasive species create in ecosystems and crop production. It does not mention the benefits of species like the non-native honey bee. Some ecologists argue that perhaps it is time to focus on the actual function of the non-native species within an ecosystem rather than on where the species originated.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
This resource emphasizes that invasive species, which are introduced to areas through human activity, can present economic and environmental challenges.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
Although not examining all aspects of the issue, it promotes dialogue and action within groups of students.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
Students map invasive species in their local communities and report their findings to a government hot line. They also increase awareness of the problems associated with non-native species through public service announcements and podcasts. Extension activities have many other suggestions for action.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
The message is clear that devastation of domestic crop production by some invasive species brings economic hardship to farmers and affects local food supplies.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Good|
Students are given the opportunity to search for invasive species in their own communities and explore the damage they can cause to their environment.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Very Good|
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Students complete research projects and perform experiential activities to evaluate present situations. The future is seen as positive only if students continue to work to create awareness and take action with regards to the potential threats posed by invasive species.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are able to discover some answers on their own through a guided inquiry approach.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although primarily a science resource, there are opportunities for addressing outcomes in language arts, visual arts, and geography.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
A variety of instructional strategies are suggested including researching invasive species, creating a podcast, participating in an outdoor activity and simulation, and reading and discussing case studies. Both cognitive and affective domains are addressed. There are no accommodations suggested for struggling students but appropriate groupings should help address differences in abilities.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
The resource involves the students in an out-of-doors, "hands-on" learning opportunity as well as an interactive simulation.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
Some reflection questions and suggested rubrics are provided. Teachers will be required to develop further assessment tools and strategies.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
There are opportunities in extension activities to go deeper into chosen activities.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|