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Invasive Species Independent Research Report

Unit Plan: Invasive SpeciesTime: Two 45-minute lessons, separated by2 weeks Setting: Classroom
6-8, 9-12Hudson River Ecology
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Students will know that aquatic communities change composition based on vegetation types and be able to explain the differences.


    1. Students select a local invasive species to research
    2. Students conduct research
    3. Students present the results of their research


    • Copies of invasive species list
    • Copies of "How to do Research"
    • Library access

    Engage: Ask students to brainstorm a list of local invasive species. If you have used any of the invasive species lessons in this module, students should know a few. Make a list on the board, and augment with provided list if necessary. Assign species based on your preference.

    Explore: Students should have several days to complete research during or after school. Students can create posters, brochures, or other materials to display what they have learned. Students should be ready to present their findings to the class.

    Explain: Encourage students to think about the positive aspects of invasive species to provide a more in-depth examination of invasions. Although we generally state that “invasives are bad”, it is interesting to think about whether all invasives are bad, and what that term means to the students. Students may also want to discuss what it means for an organism to be invasive, and how long it needs to reside in a location before it becomes “native”, such as the apple tree and the earthworm. Asking students to define these terms can lead to an interesting discussion on the range of changes that invasives have caused, realizing that some things may be ‘better’ while others are certainly ‘worse’.

    Extend: Students can research the eradication methods available to their invasive species, and the implications of such a plan.

    Evaluate: Students complete research project.

    Lesson Files

    Student handout
    How to do research
    Hudson Region Invasive Species List

    Benchmarks for Science Literacy

    1B Scientific Inquiry, 5A Diversity of Life, 11C Constancy and Change, 12D Communication Skills

    NYS Standards

    MST 1 - Mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
    Next Generation Science Standards

    Science and Engineering Practices

    Asking questions and defining problems, Planning and carrying out investigations

    Cross Cutting Concepts

    Stability and change

    Disciplinary Core Ideas

    LS2A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
    New York State Science Learning Standards

    Performance Expectations

    MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem., MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms in a variety of ecosystems., MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations., HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of biotic and abiotic factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales., HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.