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Invasive Species Outreach and Education: K-12

Activities and Lessons


Invasive Species Kids Fun Book
Idaho Department of Agriculture | 2012 | Grades: Elementary School
This activity booklet was designed to teach youth about invasive species and the threats they pose to the natural world.

Invader Rangers! Youth Activity Book

Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia | 2010 | Grades: 3–6
This activity book is geared for grades 3–6 and includes fun activities that involve learning about invasive plants through coloring, word searches, a crossword, weedy widget, dodecahedron, and more!

Nature's Invaders: Exploring the Effects of Invasive Species on Local Ecosystems

New York Times Learning Network | 2010 | Middle School – High School
What are invasive species and how do they affect ecosystems? In this lesson, students learn how an invasive species and a native species experiencing a population explosion may threaten some of the world's oldest trees, bristlecone pines in the western United States. They then explore invasive species in their own state and develop a multimedia exhibit meant to educate the public about the health of their local forests.

Designing the Perfect Plant: Activities to Investigate Plant Ecology (PDF)

Science Scope | 2008 | Middle School
Plant ecology is an important subject that often receives little attention in middle school, as more time during science classes is devoted to plant biology. This series of activities introduces students to plant ecology and the ecological tradeoffs associated with different types of plant and plant attributes. The activities also introduce students to general ecological concepts such as biodiversity, environmental disturbance, habitat, competition, and predation.

It's (Not) Just a Bug

New York Times Learning Network | 2007 | Middle School – High School
In this lesson, students reflect on challenges that face farmers in cultivating crops, including insects. They then simulate how crops are affected by native and non-native insect populations and the options farmers have to protect their crops. Finally, they create an agricultural plan from the perspective of a farmer.

Alien Invasions: Examining Invasive Plant Species in Your Community

New York Times Learning Network | 2005 | Middle School
In this lesson, students create an educational pamphlet on the origins, spread, and impact of invasive plant species in their community.

Real-life Aliens: Introduced Species (PDF)

Action Bioscience | 2002 | High School – College Undergraduate
This lesson examines issues stemming from introduced and invasive species. Students can gather statistical information about local invasives, interview animal and plant inspectors at an international airport, investigate the pet parrot trade, and more!

Curriculums


Montana Noxious Weed Education Project

Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign and Funding Partners | 2013 | Grades: K–9
The Montana Noxious Weed Education Project is a user friendly curriculum that has many educational components. The materials were designed with visual learners in mind and include full color versions of each of the 32 Montana state listed noxious weed species at different growth stages. The curriculum includes posters, weed species identification cards, lesson plans written to Common Core Standards for grades K-9, illustrations and resource documents. Also included is information about where to find additional curriculum ideas, lesson plans and various other technical materials about noxious weeds.

kNOweeds K-12 Montana Invasive Plant Curriculum

Missoula County (Montana) Weed District | 2010 | Grades: K–12
This curriculum is designed to be a supplemental curriculum for teachers who want to integrate the topic of invasive weeds into their existing courses. It provides teachers, educators, and weed professionals with an ecologically-based invasive weed curriculum that assists students in developing awareness, knowledge, and skills that will result in responsible land stewardship in the state of Montana.

Making Waves! Protecting Ontario's Aquatic Habitats
Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program | Grade: 4
A fun, informative, activity-filled teacher resource kit that introduces children to the concept of healthy habitats and communities and our role in protecting them from aquatic invasive species. Through an introduction to invasive species,¬†Making Waves!: Protecting Ontario’s Aquatic Habitats¬†will familiarize Grade 4 students with the concept of healthy habitats and communities, and demonstrate how our actions, as individuals, can have a meaningful influence on maintaining the balance within them. This kit is available free of charge.

Invader Ranger Clubhouse

Invasive Species Council of British Columbia | Grades: K–12
The Invader Ranger Clubhouse is a fun and educational, interactive experience that is designed for youth in grades three and up. At the Invader Ranger Clubhouse, you can learn how to help protect British Columbia's great outdoors from invasive species.

Alien Invasion: Plants on the Move

Bureau of Land Management | 2006 | Grades: K–12
This curriculum is designed for teachers who want to integrate the topic of invasive weeds in the classroom, develop weed awareness, and provide students in grades K–12 with an understanding of the serious problem of invasive weeds. All of the lessons in this curriculum fit within existing mandated National Science Education Standards and many of the activities integrate social studies, art, language arts, and math components.

BioControl Control Enterprise, Bug and Weed Project

Townsend (Montana) K-12 School District | 2006-2008 | Grades: K–12
Several curriculums, targeted toward different grade levels, include downloadable lessons and resources to help transform students into knowledgeable future land stewards. Topics include: weed management, weed identification, and ecosystems.

Invasive Plants Taking Root in Alaska

Homer (Alaska) Soil and Water Conservation District | 2007 | Grades: High School
This curriculum includes a variety of modules, including labs and an online mapping exercise in which students can view local maps of invasive ornamental plants in Alaska. It introduces core concepts of invasive species biology and was originally developed for Kenai Peninsula science teachers, but much of the material is appropriate for use statewide.

Invasive Species Integrated Curriculum

Georgian Court University | Grades: Middle School
Developed for middle school teachers, this curriculum integrates the topic of invasive Phragmites into six subject areas.

Pushy Plants and Alien Animals

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences | 2004 | Grades: K–5 and 6–12
Produced by the North Carolina Museum of Natural History, this curriculum and teacher's guide utilizes school grounds as an invasive species teaching resource.

Websites for Teachers


Agriculture in the Classroom

This website from the US Department of Agriculture includes lesson plans, state agricultural facts, and much more.

Celebrating Wildflowers

Celebrating Wildflowers is dedicated to the enjoyment of the thousands of wildflowers growing on our national forests and grasslands, and to educating the public about the many values of native plants. This website includes activities for students, teacher resources, and more.

Don't Move Firewood

The award winning Don't Move Firewood website has a great blog and other media focusing on forest pest species.

Environmental Inquiry: Authentic Scientific Research for High School Students

This website and curriculum series was developed by experts at Cornell University to help high school students conduct environmental science research.

Great Basin Invasive Weeds

Developed by Utah State University, this website is primarily for students and teachers in grades 7–12 and includes information on weed impacts, weed management, and how to get involved.

Junior Master Gardener

A youth gardening program from the University Cooperative Extension network. In the Operation Thistle module, middle school students learn about plant growth and development with invasive bull thistle as an example.

Montana War on Weeds

Researched and written primarily by students at Whitehall High School, this website contains information, links, and photographs of Montana's noxious weeds.

Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign

This website provides links to weed identification resources and education programs..

Plants in Peril

This website offers tools and resources for middle school educators on biodiversity and rare native plant conservation.

Return of the Natives

This website offers teacher resources, a calendar of training events for educators, lesson plans, educational resources, and more.

Sci4Kids: Science, Agriculture, and You

This website from the USDA Agricultural Research Service offers ideas for science fair projects and activity packets for teachers.

Science NetLinks

This website from Thinkfinity—an educational partnership that includes the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and many more—provides a wealth of standards-based resources for K–12 science teachers.

Science Fair Project Resource Guide

Produced by the University of Michigan, this website guides teachers and students through the process of creating a science fair project, from choosing a topic to displaying the project.

Texas Invasives

This website offers an invasive species database, a citizen scientists program, and links to other relevant websites.

Educational Materials


Alien Invasion: Invasive Species Become Major Menaces

This book for grades 4–6 profiles dozens of organisms that threaten our health and well-being. The author succinctly describes the characteristics of more than three dozen invasive species of plants and animals; the variety of ways they entered or were introduced into new habitats; and their negative impact on native ecosystems, commerce, agriculture, etc.

Plastic Weed Models

CISM's botanically correct plastic weed models are the perfect tool for educators and the public to use in education and outreach activities for all ages and levels of expertise.

CISM Online Store

Our online store offers a variety of excellent invasive species education and outreach materials, including botanically-accurate plastic weed models, weed identification cards, posters, booklets and other publications, and much more.

Illinois Natural History Survey

This website offers education and outreach materials on insects and biological control.

Roaming Invasive Species Kits (PDF)

This versatile and easy to transport weed education trunk from the Ravalli County (Montana) Weed District includes: a curriculum binder, easy to use PowerPoint presentations, plastic weeds, weed seeds, biological agent mounts, Montana weed guide booklets, weed tattoos, and much more. Although it was designed for grades K–9, many of the activities can be adapted for other ages and grade levels.

Noxious Weed Coloring Book (PDF)

Produced by the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board, this coloring book showcases some of the worst weeds in Washington.

Science Warriors: The Battle Against Invasive Species

This photo-filled book explores the work of American scientists battling invasive species. Focusing on brown tree snakes, melaleuca trees, red imported fire ants, and zebra mussels, the book explores how teams of scientists have made inroads against the destruction of habitat by these invaders.

Weedbuster Board Game (PDF)

Students learn that weeds are not just a regional problem in this game from the Western Australia Department of Agriculture's Weedbuster program.