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Master Lesson Plan: Impact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems

Monday, February 23, 2015


Stop the Invasion! Poster from Virginia DOE site

Unit Background

This 5-9 week unit was created for 4th grade classrooms to address VA standards 4.4 and 4.5 on life processes and living systems. The scenario and problem question for this unit are focused around identifying, understanding, analyzing, and managing invasive species in the local area. To do this, students will work through a number of other questions to help them develop their management plan forwhat they find within the community.

First, students will learn how we identify invasive organisms and determine how they reproduce.

Lesson 1: Students will collect, identify, classify, and research real plants and animals from pictures and from samples they collect in the field.

Lesson 2: Students will design an experiment to test the different components of photosynthesis to understand variables that influence how different plants grow.

Lesson 3: Students will grow, measure, pollinate, and dissect fast growing plants.

Lesson 4: Students will observe seed/spore development and disperal.

Lesson 5: Students will measure the length and mass of kudzu to experiment with the conditions needed for dormancy.

Next, students will explore where invasives are located in Virginia.

Lesson 6: Students will collect, identify, and map invasives within their community along with researching the dispersment of invasives across the state.

Lesson 7: Students will build and observe a habitat including invasives to consider the practical parameters or constraints within the system.

Lesson 8: Students will design an experiment to test the migration of invasive species within an ecosystem to determine how the invasives could have traveled to Virginia.

Lesson 9: Students will design an experiment to test beak adaptations to help them understand how adaptations could help a species thrive in Virginia.

Students will then look at the effects of the invasives in the state of Virginia.

Lesson 10: Students will select, research, and present the positive and negative impacts of a specific invasive organism.

Finally, students will explore how we can manage invasive species in the state.

Lesson 11: Students will explore and design methods for monitoring and managing invasives.

Culminating Activity: Students will use their research and experimental data to develop a management plan that will educate the public on the control of invasive species in Virginia, and present their plans to a panel of local and regional experts.

Invasive Species Question Map:

invasive_species_QM.jpg

download.jpgVISTA_Invasive Species_Unit Overview.pdf
Lesson Plans

Life Processes (4.4), Living Systems (4.5), and Earth Resources (4.9)

Theme

Impact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems

Scenario

Researchers of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have noticed a lot of non-native species, also known as invasive species, in Virginia. You have been asked to be an Educational Research Assistant for DCR. Your job is to identify invasive species in your community and educate others on how to prevent and manage the spread of invasive species, therefore reducing the negative effects on Virginia's ecosystems.

Problem Question

How can we minimize the spread of invasive species and their negative impacts on Virginia's ecosystems?

Student Role

Educational Research Assistant

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Culminating Activity

Develop a way to educate your community about invasive species and ways to prevent and manage the spread of invasive species, therefore reducing the negative effects on Virginia's ecosystems.

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems PDF


Question Map:

download.jpgQuestion Map PDF

Lesson Background ​ ​

Level 3 Question(s) Addressed: ​ ​

Insects

  • What does native, nonnative, and invasive mean?
  • What kinds of insects are in your community?
  • Which insects in your community are native or invasive?
  • Where are the invasive insects from and how did they get here?
  • How do invasive insects affect our ecosystem?
Date(s)
Content Standard(s): NOS Aspects

Science SOL: 4.5 f

The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals, including humans, in an ecosystem interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystems. Key concepts include influence of human activity on ecosystems.

The natural world is understandable.

Science is a blend of imagination.

Science is a social activity.

Science demands evidence.

Science is durable.

Scientific ideas are subjective to change.

Student Objective(s) for this lesson: ​ ​
  • Students will learn the meaning of native, nonnative, and invasive.
  • Students will identify a variety of insects in their community.
  • Students will determine which insects are native to Virginia.
  • Students will research where invasive insects are originally from.
  • Students will understand how invasive insects arrived in Virginia.
  • Students will understand the positive and negative impacts of insects.
  • Students will understand how invasive species affect our ecosystem.
Misconceptions to address in this lesson: ​ ​
Native insects can also cause damage to trees. The difference is that there are natural predators and other factors, such as temperature, to keep native insect populations manageable. This is not always the case for invasive insects. ​ ​
Safety Concerns in this lesson: No safety concerns. ​ ​
download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Lesson Plan Invasive Plants and Insects Overview.pdf]
Activity #1 Insects Invade
Time: Five Class Periods
Materials

"Insects Invade" Magazine – Scholastic Inc – January 2014

U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service – Program Aid 2148a

Guiding Questions
  • What does native mean?
  • What does nonnative mean?
  • What does invasive mean?
  • What are the benefits (positive effects) of insects?
  • What problems and damage do invasive species cause?
Plan
  • In pairs have students read and discuss "Insects Invade" Magazine.
  • Discourse – Class discussion on the meaning of native, nonnative, and invasive. Discuss other concepts covered in "Insects Invade" which include the benefits of insects (pollination, kills other insects, etc.), the unexpected ways that invasive species arrive, why forests and their trees are in trouble, and information about four kinds of invasive insects that are the biggest threat in the United States?
  • Provide students with a copy of the map in the "Invasive Insects" Teacher Guide. Discuss which of these insects causing the biggest threat in the United States are also located in Virginia? Start a list of insects in your area and include the insects you located on the map of our area.
  • Add to the list by brainstorming the kinds of insects that students have seen in their community. Be sure to include Bees, Butterflies, Ladybugs, Stink Bugs, Imported Fire Ants, Emerald Ash Borer, and Sirex Wasp.
  • Pair the students in groups and assign each group one or two insects from the list.
  • Each students group needs to prepare an oral presentation and a poster that includes a picture and facts about their assigned insect to share with the class.
  • Make sure students answer the following questions. Is the insect native or invasive? How does the insect affect our ecosystem? (Positive/Negative/Both) If the insect in invasive, where is it from and how did it get here?
  • Students will research their assigned insects and prepare their presentations.
  • Reports will be presented to the class and posters hung on the classroom wall.
  • Make a T-Chart labeled Native and Invasive and put it on the wall.
  • After each report add the insect to correct column on the T-Chart.
  • Have students copy the T-Chart in their Science Journals.
  • Students may also draw a picture beside each insect in their Science Journals.
DifferentiationPurposeful Grouping, Journaling, Discourse Discussions, and Small Group Discussions
ELL ModificationPurposeful Grouping, Discourse Discussion, Vocabulary Development Using Illustrations
Check for Understanding

Presentations, T-Chart, and Science Journals

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Insects Invade.pdf] Link
Activity #2 Harmful Insect Effects On Trees
Time: 15 to 20 Minutes
Materials:Brown Clay and Popcorn Kernels
Guiding Questions
  • How do insects damage and kill trees?
Plan
  • First have students roll the clay into a shape that looks like the trunk of a tree.
  • Then have the students look at the picture on page 8 of "Insects Invade" Magazine.
  • Have the students take the eraser side of their pencil and zig zag up the trunk of the clay tree in order to represent the tunnels that the Emerald Ash Borer makes on the trunk of an Ash Tree, as shown on page 8 in "Insects Invade."
  • Then have the students poke holes in the clay and insert the popcorn kernels into the clay. This shows how insects bore/burrow into a tree.
  • Discourse – Discuss the meaning of bore, burrow, and tunnel. Have the students discuss what they think happens to the tree after insects do these things to the trees.
  • In partners have students look up photos of diseased trees on the Internet.
DifferentiationDiscussion and Tactile Learning
ELL ModificationDiscussion and Vocabulary Development Through Visual Cues
Check for Understanding

Tree Damage Models and Internet Photo Search

download.jpg Impact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Activity 2 Harmful Insect Affects on Trees.pdf] Link

Lesson Background

Invasive Plants

Level 3 Question(s) Addressed:

Plants

  • How do plants grow and spread?
  • Why are plants important?
  • What are the common plants in your area?
  • Are the identified plants native or invasive?
  • Where are the invasive plants from and how did they get here?
  • How do invasive plants affect our ecosystem?
Date(s)
Content Standard(s): NOS Aspects

Science SOL: 4.4

The student will investigate and understand basic plant anatomy and life processes. Key concepts include

a) the structure of typical plants and the function of each structure.

b) processes and structures involved with plant reproduction.

c) photosynthesis

d) adaptations allow plants to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.

Science SOL: 4.9 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources. f) Key concepts include animals and plants.

The natural world is understandable.

Science is a blend of imagination.

Science is a social activity.

Science demands evidence.

Science is durable.

Scientific ideas are subjective to change.

Student Objective(s) for this lesson: ​ ​
  • Students will understand the structure of a typical plant.
  • Students will understand the function of each plant structure.
  • Students will label the parts of a flower.
  • Students will understand the function of each flower part.
  • Students will understand how plants are pollinated.
  • Students will understand the difference between seeds and spores.
  • Students will understand what a plant needs to grow.
  • Students will explain dormancy and why seeds are dormant.​ ​
Misconceptions to address in this lesson: ​ ​No misconceptions.
Safety Concerns in these lessons:

Discuss poisonous plants.

Discuss plants that can cause rashes. (Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Sumac)

Dissecting Tools used are sharp and need to be used with great caution and supervision. ​

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Lesson Plan Invasive Plants.pdf] Link




Activity #1 Observation – Introduction to Plants
Time: 1 Hour
Materials: Science Journal, Colored Pencils/Crayons, Magnifying Glass (Optional)
Guiding Questions
  • What are the characteristics of a plant?
  • Are all plants the same? What do they all have in common?
  • How did this plant get here?
  • What are the parts of the plant?
  • How does a plant grow?
  • What do plants need to survive?
  • How do plants get energy?
Plan
  • Take the class outside.
  • Instruct students to choose one plant to observe.
  • Tell the students to use their senses – touch, smell, hearing, and sight (explain to students why you do not use taste) to observe their plant.
  • Make notes of observations and draw a picture of the plant in your Science Journal.
  • Use as many words as possible to describe your plant.
  • Allow students time to make observations and to record information.
  • Discourse – Allow students to share their observations and drawings with each other.
Differentiation
Allow Choice, Journaling, and Discussion
ELL Modification
Vocabulary Development Through Discussion, Connecting To Real World
Check for UnderstandingInformal Assessment Through Journals and Discussions
download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Activity 1 Introduction to Plants.pdf] Link



Activity #2: Identify Plants
Time: Two to Three Class Periods
Materials: Samples of plants collected by students, field guides, and dichotomous key.
Guiding Questions
  • What structures do all plants have?
  • What parts of the plant can we use to tell the difference from one species to the next?
  • How are plants named?
  • What can we use to find the names of plants?
  • What types of plants stay green all year?
  • Why do some plants lose their leaves in the winter?
Plan

Day 1

  • Take a walk around school grounds.
  • Have students put adult tube socks over their shoes and pants.
  • Students need to collect samples of leaves, seeds, cones, and flowers.
  • (Optional – Ask a few students to take pictures, especially the trees that students pull leaves from.)
  • When you go back into the school, have students remove the tube socks from their shoes.
  • Students need to draw pictures and write observations of what they discover on their socks.
  • For homework, instruct students to collect a few samples of leaves, seeds, cones, and flowers from their yards and bring them to school tomorrow.

Day 2

  • Try to identify plants using field guides, dichotomous key, and/or Internet.
  • Draw pictures of samples in Science Journal and write the correct name beside each plant piece.
  • Make a list of the identified plants.
  • Divide the students into partners.
  • Divide the list of plants and assign plants to students to research. Research to identify if the plant is native to Virginia or invasive.
  • If the plant is invasive, where is it from and how did it get here?
  • Make a T-Chart labeled Native Plants and Invasive Plants and place on the wall.
  • Discourse – Discuss the items they found on their shoes on the previous day and what information that tells them (seeds/spores.) Students can show and discuss the items they found and identified. Add plants to the correct column (native or invasive.) If the plant goes in the invasive column, write where it is from beside of it and discuss in discourse.​
download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Activity 2 Identify Plants.pdf] Link



Activity #3: Seed Introduction
Time: 1 Class Period ​
Materials
  • Variety of Seeds (Different Sizes), Lima Beans, Water, & Large Container
Guiding Questions ​ ​
  • How does a plant grow?
  • Are all seed the same?
  • Do all plants grow from seeds?
  • What does a seed need in order to grow?
Plan ​ ​
  • Place the students in small groups
  • Hand each group a paper plate with a variety of different seeds. Include seeds of different sizes.
  • Have students discuss in their groups what kind of seeds they think they have.
  • After some discussion, tell the students what kind of seeds they have.
  • Students need to draw, label, and color pictures of the seeds in their Science Journal.
  • Students need to write descriptions of the seeds in the Science Journal.
  • Students will draw a Venn Diagram comparing three kinds of seeds. How are they similar? How are they different?
  • Explain that the seeds are currently dormant. Discuss with students what dormancy means.
  • Write the definition of dormancy in their Science Journal.
  • Discourse – Have students share their Venn Diagrams and the things they noticed about the seeds.
  • Give each student five Lima Beans and ask them to put the seeds in the container filled with water.
Differentiation ​ Purposeful Groups, Graphic Organizer – Venn Diagram
ELL Modification ​ Purposeful Grouping, Visuals - Illustrations and Labels
Check for Understanding ​ Journal and Venn Diagrams
download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Activity 3 Seed Introduction.pdf] Link



Activity #4: Dissect Seeds
Time: One Class Period
Materials: Soaked Lima Beans (from yesterday's class), Dry Lima Beans, and Dissecting Tools
Guiding Questions
  • What is inside a seed?
  • How can we look inside a seed? What tools can we use?
  • Why did the seeds change when they were soaked?
Plan

Student Activity

  • Give each student one Lima Bean (not from the container).
  • Draw a picture and describe.
  • Have students look at the seeds in the container. Let them discuss what has happened.
  • Have each student get two or three of the soaked Lima Beans from the container of water.
  • Draw a picture and record observations.
  • Go over safety issues and then give students dissecting tools.
  • Students will dissect seeds by removing the outer seed covering and cutting open the lima bean seed to view the embryo.
  • Students are to draw and make observations in their Science Journal.
  • Discourse – Students need to discuss their observations, thoughts, and share what they learned.
Differentiation Tactile Learning and Discussion
ELL Modification Tactile Learning, Illustrations, and Diagrams
Check for Understanding

Discussions and Science Journals

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Dissect Seeds.pdf] Link



Activity #5: Growing Lima Beans
Time: One Class Period
Materials: Lima Beans, Container, Water, Three Small Mason Jars, Medicine Cup or Milk Jug Lids, 2 Liter Pop Bottle Cap, and Paper Towels.
Guiding Questions

What happens to Lima Beans when they are soaked in water overnight?

Plan

Class Activity – Large Group

  • Soak Lima Beans for one to two hours before class starts.
  • Rinse out jars.
  • Empty jars but do not dry the jars.
  • Put a napkin in the jars.
  • Place one soaked bean between the side of the jar and the napkin.
  • Place one jar in the classroom window.
  • Place one jar somewhere in the classroom, but away from the window.
  • Place one jar inside a cardboard box.
  • Put one pop bottle cap of water in the three jars every day.
  • Measure the plants every three days and record the data in Science Journals.

Student Activity – Small Groups

  • Give each student two Ziploc bags.
  • Have them write their name on their bags with permanent marker.
  • Fold a paper towel small enough it will fit in a sandwich sized Ziploc bag.
  • Put two teaspoons of water (can use medicine cup or fill a milk jug lid with water) on the paper towel.
  • Place the paper towel in the Ziploc bag.
  • Put two soaked Lima Bean between the paper towel and the side of the Ziploc bag. Try to put the two beans some distance a part.
  • Seal the bag tightly.
  • Hang the bags in a window with the bean side facing to the outside (toward the sun.)
  • Observe and record data every three days.
  • Once the seeds germinate, have each student plant their beans in soil and individual pots. Then put the potted plants under a grow light.
  • Observe and record data every three days.
  • When the plants have grown a significant amount, send plants home for the kids to plant.​
DifferentiationTactile Learning, Discourse Discussion, and Observations
ELL ModificationTactile Learning, Discourse Discussion, and Observations
Check for Understanding

Discussions and Science Journals

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Growing Lima Beans.pdf] Link



Activity #6: Flower Dissection
Time: One Class Period
Materials: Flowers, Dissecting Tools, Magnifying Glasses, and Paper Towels
Guiding Questions
  • Name the parts of a flower?
  • How do flowers become pollinated?
  • Why are insects attracted to flowers?
  • What is the job of each part of the flower?
  • What does each part of the flower look like?
Plan
  • Have a diagram of flower parts labeled on the Smart Board.
  • Have students gather around as you show the different parts and discuss the job of each.
  • Show students pollen and discuss how flowers are pollinated.
  • Give each student a flower to dissect.
  • Have them lay out the different parts at their workstation.
  • Teacher is to listen to each student verbally identify the parts of a flower and its function.
  • Draw and label flower parts in Science Journals.
  • Discourse – Discuss what the students noticed and learned.
Differentiation Tactile Learning, Peer Discussions, and Teacher/Student (One on One Discussion)
ELL Modification Tactile Learning, Teacher/Students (One on One Discussion, Journaling, and Labeling
Check for Understanding

Discussions and Science Journals

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Activity Flower Dissection.pdf] Link



Lesson Background

Level 3 Question(s) Addressed: ​ ​
  • How can we manage and/or eliminate invasive plants and insects?
  • What can we personally do to help?​ ​
Date(s)
Content Standard(s): NOS Aspects

Science SOL: 4.5 f

The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals, including humans, in an ecosystem interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystems. Key concepts include influence of human activity on ecosystems.


The natural world is understandable.

Science is a blend of imagination.

Science is a social activity.

Science demands evidence.

Science is durable.

Scientific ideas are subjective to change.

Student Objective(s) for this lesson: ​ ​
  • Students will understand the damage that can be caused by invasive species?
  • Students will discuss how we can eliminate invasive plants and insects?
  • Students will understand how we can personally help control the spread of invasive insects and plants?​ ​
Misconceptions to address in this lesson: ​ ​
Not all invasive plants and insects are harmful, sometimes they can be beneficial. ​ ​
Safety Concerns in these lessons: ​ ​

Discuss poisonous plants.

Discuss plants that can cause rashes. (Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Sumac)

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Lesson Plan Managing Invasive Plants and Insects.pdf] Link



Activity #1, Management #1: Management of Invasive Plants and Insects
Time:

One Day For Field Trip

One Class Period for Guest Speakers

Materials :​ None
Guiding Questions ​ ​
  • What damage does invasive species cause?
  • How can we help control the spread of invasive insects and plants?
  • How can we eliminate invasive insects and plants?
Plan ​ ​

Field Trip

  • Field Trip to Foster Falls (or another Virginia State Park.)
  • Have a Park Ranger talk with the students about invasive plants species, the damage they cause, and how we can manage or eliminate invasive species from Virginia ecosystems.
  • Park Ranger will take the students on a hike to show them examples. Guest Speakers
  • Invite speakers from High School Agricultural Department Forestry Team.
  • Talk with students about invasive species and different ways to identify trees.
Differentiation Field Trip and Guest Speakers (Personal Experiences)
ELL Modification Field Trip and Guest Speakers (Personal Experiences)
Check for Understanding

Culminating Activity

download.jpgImpact of Invasive Species on Virginia Ecosystems Activity Management of Invasive Plants and Insects.pdf] Link
Created by St. Paul School, Carroll County

by Science Generalist at 12:54 PM in Elementary, Life Science, Lesson Plan
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