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This resource examines the impact of invasive species on habitats, biodiversity and the web of life. Five lessons offer hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities to raise student awareness of alien species and the need to restore native species. Topics include the nature of invasive species, how they are introduced and spread, their impacts on native species and spaces (including investigating the historical relationships between Aboriginal people and native plants and animals), and solutions for these threats.
A summary of each lesson follows:
Lesson 1 - Native Friends Invasive Foes (3X45min)
Students compare and classify alien species and hold a class debate about the differences in indigenous species and exotic species, their positive and negative effects and whether populations should be conserved or controlled.
Lesson Two- An Unnatural History ( 4x45min)
Students will investigate historical relationships between Aboriginal people and natural species as well as the intentional introduction of exotic plants and animals to North America by settlers and explorers. Students then trace the geographical origins of an alien species found in their own part of Canada. They share this information with the class.
Lesson 3- Alien X-files or Accidental Tourists (2X45min)
Students do a card-matching activity to learn how human activities accidentally transport invasive species into ecosystems. Pairs or groups of students explore in greater depth the introduction and spread of an individual plant or animal and research other examples of "accidental" transplants. They present these to the class and make new sets of matching cards.
Lesson 4- Alien Impacts- Assess The Mess (3X45 min plus a field trip)
Students learn to identify some of the native and non-native species in their area, research the effects of exotics on local wildlife and habitat and the interrelationships among plants and animals. Students then map the major features of their school yard or another site. (wetlands, meadows, forest, seashore, etc..). Students prepare and present a report on their site.
Lesson 5- Set the Restoration Cycle in Motion (3 X45min plus a field trip)
Students develop and take steps to implement a plan to prevent the introduction and spread of the alien species, control their populations, monitor their presence, and restore native wildlife. These action projects include a public awareness campaign, a monitoring study, a weed pull and a native plant restoration project. Many suggestions are given for potential action plans.
Each lesson includes good background information, excellent links, on-line tutorials, and many useful handouts and guides.
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||Very Good|
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
Socio-economic impacts such as financial losses to governments, communities ,agriculture and recreational groups are linked to the environmental effects of invasive species. Loss of habitat and the disruption of ecosystems are also explored.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The debate topics in Lesson 1 and follow-up discussion will ensure that the complexity of this issue is respected.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
Many ideas for action plans are presented in the last two lessons. These would be more effective if detailed instructions were included on how to carry them out.
|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|
|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||Very Good|
|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||Good|
The historical and geographical story of the arrival of exotic species is well presented. Present-day situations are evaluated and the students are asked to play a role in implementing solutions.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Lessons provide information but students are not "steered" toward any 'right" answer.
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 some learning opportunities related to history, geography, language arts and art.
|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.
Both affective and cognitive domains are addressed. Appropriate groupings for lessons 4 and 5 should help provide for differences in abilities. There are no accommodations suggested for people with learning difficulties. Lesson 3 could be substituted for a research project for struggling learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Poor- No tools are given for formative or summative assessment
|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.
There are some quick descriptions of real events in real situations but the case studies lack detail. It is up to the student to do further research on these topics.
|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||Good|
|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.|