Resources for PreK-8 Activity 12 – Invasive Species

Throughout history, people have intentionally and unintentionally moved plant and animal species to new environments. Some of these species have proved beneficial, but others invade natural habitats causing environmental, and sometimes economic harm. Students will research invasive species to determine how these species got to their new locations and what characteristics make them so challenging.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:

Alien Invasion (PDF)

 

Spanish Student Page(s):

Invasion extranjera (PDF)

STEM STRATEGIES

Engage students in real-world applications of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education.

Try these STEM Connections for this PLT activity:

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals while building upon concepts learned in this activity with the following children’s book recommendations:

FAMILY ACTIVITY

Try a simple variation of this activity to engage children in the outdoors at home. Download this fun and easy-to-do family activity.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Conservation Careers: Video Series from New York

    The video series On the Front Lines, created by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, profiles conservation professionals working in New York’s natural lands and environments. Select the playlist “On the Front Lines” to choose from 25 videos highlighting a variety of green careers including Wildlife BiologistForest Health Specialist, and Environmental Educator.

  • Tree Rings Simulation

    The science of tree rings is called dendrochronology. Tree rings help scientists learn about past climates by decoding tree ring patterns. Climate scientists use clues from ice cores, layered sediment deposits in lakes and seas, the structure of coral reefs, as well as tree ring sequences to learn about paleoclimates. The use of tree ring records to decode Earth’s climate history is called dendroclimatology. Use this interactive Tree Rings Simulation by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Center for Science Education to learn what tree ring patterns can tell us about climate conditions in the past.

  • Invasive Species: Starlings

    In this Encyclopedia of Life podcast called Starlings, most appropriate for grades 8-12, students will learn how humans have inadvertently put out the welcome mat for this alien species, the common starling. It’s a non-native species that is omnivorous, gregarious, adaptable, and highly successful in its adopted land. This podcast is just one in a series of podcasts called One Species at a Time.

  • Ask a Biologist

    Digitally bring a professional into your classroom with Arizona State University’s Ask a Biologist.  Students can use the Ask a Biologist’s web resources to learn about and research many different environmental issues. Multiple activities, stories, images, and links are also available for educators to use and build lessons around.         

  • What Is an Invasive Species?

    This U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website provides information and resources on invasive species.

  • USFS Water

    Information from the U.S. Forest Service on water, including a water cycle poster and water facts.

  • Use of Giant African Land Snails in Classrooms

    An important message from the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service & the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to teachers and educators about the risk involved in using Giant African Land Snails (GALS) in science lessons.  The GALS is a great example of how invasive species become introduced to new areas.    

  • Invasive Plant Information

    Did you know that the United States spends more than $100 million a year on combating invasive plants in wetland areas alone?  Find this and other interesting facts about invasive species in Invasive Plants, an online document from the U.S. National Arboretum, most appropriate for middle and high school levels.

  • Nab the Aquatic Invader

    Nab the Aquatic Invader teaches students in grades 4-10 about aquatic invaders and the problems they create in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, and Great Lakes regions. Produced by NOAA and the Sea Grant Program, the website features games and activities in which student detectives must “nab” critters in each locale that are damaging the environment. The website also includes extensive background information on each species.

  • iNaturalist

    iNaturalist is a species identification app that allows users to record their observations of living things by way of taking photos and appending GPS coordinates to their discoveries. Each user has their own profile and can follow others to keep a tab of what others are posting, or share what they have photographed. The app also facilitates connection with thousands of scientists to help users identify the species they have observed.

    Another exciting aspect of iNaturalist is that users can contribute their photos and data and participate in a number of citizen science projects. You can find a list of some of these projects here or click on “find your location” using this map to see the observations in your area. You can also develop your own for your school or local community!

  • Asian Longhorned Beetle Hunt

    Students in grades K-12 can participate in the USDA’s Asian Longhorned Beetle Hunt and help preserve our nation’s forests. The Asian longhorned beetle, an invasive pest, destroys trees and has been found in several states across the country. Classroom resources, including videos and identification worksheets, are available to help teach what the beetle looks like, what the signs of infestation are, and what to do if an infestation is spotted. 

  • The Hopeful Story of American Chestnut Recovery

    This video blog post from Go Wood presents a clear summary of what happened to the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata), what is being done in the scientific realm to make a recovery of the species possible, and how you can help bring the American Chestnut back to the American forest. Go Wood seeks to educate people on the value of wood in society and is supported by professors at Penn State University Extension.

  • Global Invasive Species Database

    The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) aims to reduce threats to natural ecosystems and the native species they contain by increasing awareness of invasive alien species and of ways to prevent, control, or eradicate them. The ISSG facilitates the exchange of invasive species information across the globe and ensures the linkage between knowledge, practice, and policy so that decision making is informed. To support these efforts, ISSG has compiled a list of “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species.” View photos and learn more about these species’ habitats, impacts, uses, and the geographical range.

  • Plant Heroes

    The Sentinel Plant Network helps protect plants by preventing the spread of bad bugs and fungi. To help their mission, they assembled a team of “Plant Heroes” to detect and combat bugs and diseases that harm plants and ecosystem health, paying special attention to the Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Redbay Ambrosia Beetle, and Ramorum Blight. Using games, comics, printables, and field guides, the Plant Heroes website allows students to learn more about pest and disease identification and how to report evidence of them.

  • Beetle Busters

    Help stop the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) from destroying U.S. Forests. Produced by the U.S.D.A.’s Office of Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, the Beetle Busters website presents information about this invasive pest along with curriculum materials and a poster for grades 4-12.

  • Asian Longhorned Beetle and its Host Trees

    Learn about the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) through this digital publication. Produced by the USDA Forest Service and the University of Vermont, it’s a good resource for citizen science and service-learning projects monitoring for ALB.

  • Invasive Species 3-D Paper Models

    The Regional Municipality of York has downloadable Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle 3-D paper models for teachers, adults, and children. These eye-catching 3-D models are perfect for incorporating into teacher lesson plans. To avoid any potential misconceptions, be sure to find and share the part of the template that depicts the actual adult size of these invasive species.  

  • Invasive Paper Project

    The Invasive Paper Project travels throughout Detroit to offer papermaking demos and workshops with invasive plants (like Phragmites, Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard) that have been removed from city parks, lots, and green spaces in many different communities. This project creates community awareness about invasive plant species and their effects on local ecosystems, while also providing an opportunity to think about invasive plant life differently. While eradication is important, projects like this one allow participants to experiment with new uses and products from otherwise unwanted raw materials. Consider turning your next papermaking activity into a service-learning project by using invasive species pulp instead of paper scraps!