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This game-style activity teaches students about the invasive Red-eared slider and its effects on native turtle populations. Students will also learn how releasing a pet into the wild can harm other species and how to be a responsible pet owner.
Students are assigned the role of either a habitat component or a turtle. To begin the game the turtles will seek out something in their habitat. After a few rounds, the Red-eared slider turtles are introduced and the students will begin to see the effects. In between each round, tallies are kept on the numbers of each type of turtle and habitat components. This information is then used to create a graph of the population over time. Students will also participate in a discussion prompted by questions from the resource.
This activity is part of a larger lesson called "A Beginner's Guide to Invasive Species" and includes a list of related activities as well as a number of resources and extension ideas.
"Turtle Trouble" fits very well into the Science curriculum for grades 4 to 7 and those outcomes that deal with habitats, living things and biodiversity. The resource would be most beneficial in a lesson in which the students have prior knowledge of native, invasive and non-native species. The game format provides a hands-on kinesthetic activity to help solidify student learning.
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