Search for Resources

What's Native and We're Being Invaded - Two Lessons for Young Learners

Elementary

Description

What's Native and We're Being Invaded are two complimentary lessons that introduce students to the topic of invasive species through hands-on activities that focus on plants.  The learning by doing approach is particularly appealing and fosters an appreciation for the interdependence of nature.  After participating in these lessons students will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between native and non-native species.
  • Recognize a variety of plants.
  • Describe how invasive plants can impact ecosystems.
  • Identify the basic requirements for plant growth.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Observation
  • Classification
  • Identification
  • Communication

Strengths

  • Activity and movement based.
  • Organized and easy to use.
  • Current and relevant environmental topic.
  • Builds science skills in classification and identification.

Weaknesses

  • No assessment strategies.
  • Very focused on environmental threats of invasive species without considering social and economic costs.
  • This topic lends itself to action projects but none are included with the resource.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource is particularly appropriate for grades K-3 and supports learning outcomes related to plants, conservation and sustainability.   While exploring and categorizing plant species in "What's Native?" students could identify and describe important structural features such as seed type.  They could also compare seed distribution methods of native and non-native plants.

The suggested field trip could become the basis of a class project  in which students catalogue and map the presence of invasive plants in a local habitat.  The information could support a community-based action initiative that has the class work with citizens to organize an invasive plant pulling event or a public awareness campaign.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions.
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions.
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science: Plants and animals have observable features
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional and Global Communities: Local actions have global consequences, and global actions have local consequences.
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Being Together:The World and Me
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • My Environment
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Our Local Community
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Changes in Plants
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities of the World: Exploring the World
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World: Place and Community
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World:Place and Community
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World: Our Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World: Our Environment
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World: Changes and the Physical Environment
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3.Our Local Environment: Science Technology Society and Environment (STSE)
        • Science 3: Our Local Environment:Scientific Literacy
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provincial Identity: Place
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring My World: A Closer Look at Plants
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Place
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environments
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environments
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Plant Growth & Changes
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provincial Identity: Place
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The World and Me
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting and Belonging: My Environment
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities in Canada: Our Local Community
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Growth and Changes in Plants
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities of the World: Exploring the World
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Needs of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 1: Age Appropriate Action
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 2:Environments
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Plants
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 3: Place
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Being Together: The Land: Place & People
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting and Belonging: The Land: Place & People
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Growth and Changes in Animals
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities in Canada: The Land: Place & People
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Growth and Changes in Plants
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting With the World: The Land: Place & People
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Problem Solving and Innovating: Overall Expectations
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • People and Environments: The Local Community
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • People and Environments: Global Communities
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Growth & Changes in Plants
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions: Environments
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Change: Environment
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Plant Growth & Changes
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Provincial Identity: Place
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Units & Outcomes
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Needs & Characteristics of Living Things
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • My Family: Dynamic Relationships
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Plant Growth and Changes
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science: Plants and animals have observable features
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional and Global Communities: Local actions have global consequences, and global actions have local consequences.
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (4)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Interdependence
    • Invasive Species
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Planting Native Species

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource's attention to various points of view  is age appropriate for grades K-3.  Students will recognize and understand invasive species transport mechanisms and will also be able to identify personal actions that can prevent the spread of invasive plants.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The activities in these two lessons specifically address the environmental impacts of invasive species.  However, discussion opportunities are plentiful and can be used to engage students in  conversations about the social and economic impacts of non-native plants.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory

The simple approach of the activities is well designed to meet the needs of very young learners.  The connection between particular species and their habitats is recognized during the "We're Being Invaded!" game and the resource also suggests an outdoor exploration to encourage thinking about invasive species impacts at the ecosystem level.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Although no specific action projects are identified, the invasive species topic opens pathways to community-based projects such as public education.

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

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory

During the debriefing of "We're Being Invaded!" the class is asked to consider the impacts of invasive species on other plants and animals.  In this discussion students are able to express their own views about the importance of protecting ecosystems.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
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 Satisfactory

There is a suggestion to extend the "What's Native?" lesson with an outdoor exploration where students can practice plant identification and classification skills.  This activity will effectively connect in-class learning to a meaningful nature experience.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Biodiversity in all areas of Canada is being impacted by invasive plants and animals that compete with native species and degrade ecosystem health.  Using pictures of local species for both activities will focus attention on specific threats within the communities in which students live.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory

Teachers can make use of the resource background information and web links to show older students how invasive species have become established in Canada.  The debriefing with each activity engages all students in discussions about current threats to native plants and animals and encourages refection about conservation.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Students are active participants in both lessons and have several opportunities to express their own ideas.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This resource has been developed to meet science objectives but the "We're Being Invaded!" game supports physical education outcomes.  There are also some visual art components in the compilation of pictures and poster design in the "What's Native?" lesson.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Because plants are universally familiar the subject matter of this resource allows students to connect with prior learning to uncover new facts and relationships.  The suggested field trip to a local habitat also provides an opportunity to practice new skills in an authentic context.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Poor/Not considered

Although no differentiation strategies are identified, the active nature of both lessons will especially appeal to kinesthetic learners.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The experiential aspect of this resource could be easily increased with the recommended field trip to a local natural area.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

The "What's Native?" lesson can be set up as a whole class or small group activity.  Using the small group approach would foster peer communication and discussion.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

This resource does not include any formal strategies for assessment but some formative assessment can occur when students are asked to classify and sort animals and plants in the "What's Native?" activity.

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 Poor/Not considered
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered
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

The companion field trip would activate scientific inquiry skills as students explore a local habitat to observe and identify plants.  This process could be enhanced by having students design a project where they catalogue and map important features of the area including the locations of any invasive plants they find.

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.