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Teaching About Invasive Species

 

Do you want to teach your students about Invasive Species?

The Invasive Species Centre (ISC) is unique in that it is the only organization in Ontario that focuses solely on invasive species.

Would you like to have one place to look for resources that provide lesson plans relating to this topic?

The Invasive Species Centre has amalgamated a list of resources including unit and lesson plans in one place for educators.

Do you want lesson plans that are linked to the Ontario Educational Curriculum Standards?

The Invasive Species Centre has a list of lesson plans with links to the Ontario curriculum expectations and some with links to the Pan-Canadian Protocol for Collaboration on School Curricular expectations.

Do you want to include outdoor or experiential learning opportunities about invasive species for your students to help reinforce the in-class subject matter?

The lesson plans included in the list of resources are identified by grade level and whether they contain experiential learning, games, evaluations and online activities to make planning easier and more specific to your individual needs.

Do you know where your students can get a post-secondary education in Ontario if they want a career involving invasive species?

The ISC has gathered a list of Ontario educational institutions which have programs geared towards environmental issues and science and the possible career choices that students would expect to obtain on graduating.

What if your students want to learn more than you have time to teach in the classroom?

Many of the lesson plans contain links to additional resources and learning opportunities including community linked outreach events.

Did we miss you? Do you have resources that you would like to share on the Invasive Species Centre Education page?

The Invasive Species Centre welcomes your submission of successful lesson plans that you have developed regarding invasive species instruction and/or experiential learning activities to be considered for inclusion with our resource list. Also, if your organization has lesson plans which you feel should be included in this list please contact us and we would be happy to discuss the possibility of adding them.

Note: Lesson plans are provided by external sources and have not been peer reviewed by the ISC. The ISC does not take responsibility for the accuracy or stated outcomes of these lesson plans and notes that they may not be inclusive of all that are currently available.



Activity Title

Grade Level

Meets Specific Curricular Outcomes

Lesson Plan

In class Activity

Out of Class Activity

Games

Online Activity

Assessment Tools

Notes

 Aquatic Invaders!
 K to 12  No No Yes Yes Yes No No  Contains a range of activities to help youth learn about invasive species and their impacts, and ways we all can help prevent their spread. Primarily focused on aquatic invasive species but can be adapted for any invasive species classification.

Pulling for Diversity

3 to 8 No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No 5 activities with roleplaying and group learning - an education program developed for Biodiversity Day 2009
Unwelcome Guests 7 No Yes Yes No No Yes No Lesson focuses on exotic and invasive species and their presence in Canada. Activity involves developing a Futures Wheel which can be used to explore the impacts of introducing an invasive species.
The Invaders 7 to 10 No Yes Yes No No No Yes 4 mini lessons about invasive species with report writing, asking questions, answer questions about a video
Native Friends, Invasive Foes 6 to 12 No Yes Yes No No No No Students compare and classify native and exotic species
An Unnatural History 6 to 12 No Yes Yes No No Yes No Students investigate historical relationships between Aboriginal peoples and native wildlife and introductions of exotic animals and plants
Alien X-files or accidental tourists? 4 to 8 No Yes Yes No No No No Students do card-matching activity to learn how human activities accidentally transport invasive species into ecosystems. Further exploration into spread of an individual species.
Alien Impacts-Assess the mess 6 to 12 No Yes Yes No No Yes No Students research the presence of native and non-native species in their area and effects on habitats. Share with rest of class and discuss.
Set the restoration cycle in motion 4 to 12 No Yes Yes No No Yes No Students develop a strategic plan to prevent the introduction and spread of alien species.
Teaching about Invasive Species-Programs K to 12 No No Yes Yes No Yes No Articles describing programs performed by educators. Book requires purchase. Aim of article is to provide sufficient detail and practical advice so that the program can be replicated. Community involvement projects, rehabilitation of habitat, investigations for invasive species. Contains many US resources. 3 authors from Canada, 8 authors are from the US. Book requires purchase.
Around the World: The Invasive Species Challenge 6 to 12 No Yes No Yes Yes No No Outdoor activity using different coloured balls to explain the spread of invasive species. Book requires purchase.
Vectors of Spread: Invasive Species Getaway Vehicles 2 to 7 No Yes No Yes No No No Outdoor activity discovering the methods of dispersal of invasive species. Book requires purchase.
Can Trees Catch the Flu? 4 to 8 No Yes Yes No No No No Hands-on activities that enable students to learn about how invasive species damage our forests and what we can do to prevent their spread. Book requires purchase.
Invasive Species vs Biodiversity 6 to 12 No Yes Yes No No No No 2 case study activities that explore the negative impact invasive species have on biodiversity and what can be done about it. Book requires purchase.
Create Your own Invasive Species 3 to 11 No Yes Yes Yes No No No Build a Species. Students dream up the perfect invasive species. Book requires purchase.
Invasive Species Dodge Ball 4 to 12 No Yes No Yes Yes No No Students play a game to illustrate how quickly invasive species can change ecosystems forever. Book requires purchase.
Zebra Mussel Baseball 4 to 12 No Yes No Yes Yes No No Students play a game to illustrate how you can pick up invasive species anywhere and that they will have an effect on all the places you travel. Book requires purchase.
From here, From away 3 to 12 No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Students play a game which teaches the difference between native plants and animals and the invasive species that have made themselves at home. Book requires purchase.
Starling Mania 3 to 9 No Yes No Yes Yes No No Students play a game which teaches the idea that once an invasive species takes hold in an area, there is often no room left for the natural species. Book requires purchase.
Invasive Species 6 to 12 No No Yes No No No No 2 videos, pdf & powerpoint about invasive species in Great lakes.
Carpageddon 4 to 8 No No Yes No No No Yes 1 TV episode about Asian Carp along with a question and answer sheet about facts in the episode. Can download teacher's guide and other resources
Introduction to Invasive Species: What is the Impact? 7 Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Discussion about impacts of invasive species
Ontario's Most Unwanted Invasive Species 7 Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Discussion about environmental and economic impacts of invasive species in Canada (plants)
On the Hunt for Invasive Species 7 Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Field trip with mapping of invasive plant species in local schoolyard
Agricultural Efforts against Invasive Species 7 Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Comparison of plant specimens (native and non-native) Could add an extension of field trip to do an inventory of plants in local schoolyard
Insect Invasion-Japanese Beetle 7 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Observation of fruits and vegetables and discussion about how they arrived, what challenges they faced including invasive species. Could include interview of local farmer
The Arrival of Invasive Species to the Great Lakes 6 to 8 Yes Yes Yes No No No No One lesson plan about arrival of aquatic invasive species to the Great Lakes
Alien Invaders 6 to 7 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No One lesson over 2 classes that introduces students to the concept of invasive species using independent research, key word sheet, internet links
Wanted! Invasive Plants 3 Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No 1 lesson plan for a field trip and associated classroom activity about invasive plants & poster construction
Aliens Invaders 6 to 12 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No 3-4 classroom periods aimed at learning how to identify local invasive species and develop an invasive species plan
Alien Invaders: Threats to Biodiversity 6 Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No 3 (lessons in a backpack) activities held outdoors that teach about how invasive species reduce biodiversity in local environments (based on Georgian Bay wetlands)
The Effects of Human Actions on Biodiversity 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 1 lesson plan within a unit on Biodiversity - Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Ecosystem Intruders 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 1 lesson plan within a unit on Biodiversity and the Natural world - Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Forest Biodiversity and Invasive Species 11 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 6 hours of activity developed from Ontario Envirothon/ Focus on Forests website. Class discussion, notes, reading, answering questions, research & presentation. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
What is a Habitat 4 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 1 Interactive online presentation about habitats. One slide about invasive species impacts on habitat. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Human Impact on Ecosystems: Get Out of My Room 11 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 Lesson plan with 3 segments about how sea lamprey and zebra mussels impact the ecosystem. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Zebra Mussels: An Invasive Species 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 1 lesson-Interactive online presentation about Zebra Mussels. Accompanied by a contextual lesson plan. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Biodiversity and Destruction of Natural Habitats 12 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson plan with reading and written assignment. Rubric for evaluation. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Human Impact: Sustainable Ecosystems 9 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Brainstorming, researching web, 3 assignments and rubric for evaluation.. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Our Changing Environment: Human Impact on the Environment 11 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson-Research and prepare a presentation. Complete an assignment about invasive species. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Plants and the Environment 11 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson-Reading and assignment based on using plants to restore the environment. Mention of invasive plants. Rubric for evaluation. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Population Changes 12 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson about population dynamics. Assignment with research on invasive species introduction to new populations. Rubric for evaluation. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Ecosystems: Factors that Affect Sustainability 9 Yes No Yes No No Yes No 1 lesson, Interactive "Flash Player" object about sustainability in aquatic ecosystems. Study about effects of invasive species, added chemicals and sunlight. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Biomes 12 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson, definitions for terms and introduction to 6 biomes through photos and maps. Method for analysis of biomes is provided and info about species interaction. Rubric for assignment evaluation. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Impacts on Ecosystems 12 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson + Flash presentation, with focus on impacts to ecosystems and health, specific for species survival and effects of introduction of new species. Rubric for assignment evaluation. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Good things grow in Ontario 11 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 1 lesson with research into local plants, garden plants and intro of alien plant species and effects. 1 assignment about alien plants. Rubric for evaluation of assignment. Password protected site for Ontario Teachers only
Invaders in Our Waters K to 12 Yes No No No No No No Videos focusing on pathways of concern
Know Me, Know My Adaptations 4 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Game about identifying adaptations and survival and concept of invasive species. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Sun Block 4 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Game where students emulate the transfer of food energy in a lake habitat and compare scenarios between a healthy habitat and one disrupted by an invasive plant. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Changing Chains 4 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Students create food chains from familiar animal and plant species and examine the impacts from invasive species. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Aquarium Ownership is an Art 4 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Students create posters to demonstrate responsible pet ownership and what happens when they release into local waterways. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Musical Mussels 4 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Version of musical chairs where students compete as aquatic species. Highlights how certain adaptations enable invasive species to outcompete native species. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Tough Ruffe 4 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Simulation where students demonstrate the struggle for survival in a lake habitat between healthy habitat and disrupted by invasive species. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Stow-Aways and Crafty Ways 4 Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Mapping and prediction activity where students explore the ways invasive species can migrate through the waters of Ontario. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
The Ultimate Species 4 Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Students create their own aquatic species and compare with classmates to determine those with adaptations that would make them potentially invasive. Support materials and warm-up/wrap-up activities, background materials and teaching resources.
Sea Lamprey Suck! 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Students learn about seal lamprey using kinesthetic learning strategies to complete an activity circuit. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Graffiti Gallery 6 Yes Yes Yes No No No No Students draw and discuss their understanding of biodiversity and invading species. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Invader Web Quest 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Students follow an internet quest to research a given invading species. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Surprise Hitchhikers 6 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Simulation activity where students are introduced to invasive species and learn how they spread and become established in a new area. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Biodiversity Give and Take 6 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Game where students learn about threats to biodiversity and actions that help to sustain biodiversity. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Ballast Water Debate 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Students consider and debate issues related to ballast water control. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Invader Take Over 6 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Game where invader take over illustrates concept of species loss and competitive advantage. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Seeking Invaders 6 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Students do field work to look for, identify and report local invading species. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Spread the Word, Not the Invaders 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Students create a presentation about the importance of preserving biodiversity and preventing the spread of invasive species. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Diversity Jeopardy 6 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Simplified version of Jeopardy, students create game using information learned during the previous 9 lessons in the unit. Warm-up/wrap-up activities. Background materials, teachers resources.
Invasive Species Investigation-Biodiversity 6 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 4 part lesson plan with experiential learning activities where students are introduced to the concept of alien and invasive species and research what is being done to control them.
Don't Turn your pets into aliens! 4 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 2 videos and study guide with 1 lesson where students investigate some alien invasive species and consider released pets as one form of introduction. Purchase required.
Alien Invaders 6 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 2 videos and study guide with 2 part lesson where students investigate how introduced species can sometimes become invasive by outcompeting native species. (4 case studies). Purchase required.
If Species could speak 7 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 2 videos and study guide with 2 part lesson where students learn to protect biodiversity by becoming aware of the connections between human activity and ecosystem health. Purchase required.
Protecting Species at Risk 9 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No 2 videos and study guide with 1 lesson where students will consider some ways that human activity can be harmful to other species. Discussion about invasive species impact. Purchase required.
Tracking Aliens 4 to 8 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes 1 lesson plan about comparing native and invasive species in your back yard
Alien/Invasive Species - Who Knew? K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No 1 lesson where student completes reads a public article about an alien species impacting community or province & reflect on information. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Aliens in the Family K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes 1 lesson where student completes research and produces a scrap book to record information about a specific invasive species of interest. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Aliens in the News K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No No No No 1 lesson where students critically analyze an article about alien species and impact on community or province. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Plants in My Community K to 12 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Field Trip in a weedy area near school to identify native and non-native, invasive plants, class discussion, plots and graphs. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Taking a Closer Look - Going Outdoors K to 12 Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Field Trip in a  neighbourhood 5 block area near school to identify native and non-native, invasive plants, class discussion, plots and graphs. Requires membership with STAO to access.
The Destructive Nature of Acid Rain K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No No No No Laboratory type demonstration of the effects of acid rain. Could include some discussion about how human impacts on ecosystems make them vulnerable to invasive species. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Toxic Path: Bio-accumulation K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No No No No Demonstration of the effects of pesticide use and accumulation in the food chain. Could include some discussion about how human impacts on ecosystems make them vulnerable to invasive species. Requires membership with STAO to access.
How do we use Trees 3 to 4 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Video discussing use of trees and products. Students discuss what would happen without trees and could discuss the impacts of invasive species on decline. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Invaders - Ladybug Field Study 4 Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Students photograph and ID ladybug species and share online with Cornell U scientists with citizen science study. Discuss native and invasive species.
Predators in Control K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Game about predator/prey relationship. Could introduce an invasive species and determine the outcome of the native population. Requires membership with STAO to access.
VL Resource List K to 12 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No List of resources on the web. Many are broken links, US links or repeats of previous resources ie "Making Waves". Not all specific to invasive species. Requires membership with STAO to access.
Alien Invaders: Species that threaten our world 4 to 8 Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No Book on invasive species but no specific lesson plans. For use in combination with "Meet the Invaders" and "Alien Invaders" lesson plans. Cost for book.
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