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Invasive Species: You’re Not Welcome Here!

Originally appears in the Winter 2017 issue

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING! Invasive species look beautiful, unique, and harmless and to too many, they look great in a garden or fish tank. They shouldn’t be fooled. Invasive species are non-native organisms that take over native habitats. They cause severe damaging effects to ecosystems of native plants and animals.

The following lesson plan will help third through fifth graders to distinguish between native versus invasive species. They will look at the impacts of invasive species on native ecosystems, and learn strategies to minimize those impacts. You can harness your students’ enthusiasm to protect endangered species by discussing ways in which people can help endangered animals through the removal or prevention of invasive species. At the conclusion of the lesson, the students will make their own public service announcement video about invasive species and explain what people can do to address this global biodiversity issue – and share it with the school.

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Amy Paul teaches 4th grade at CA Frost Environmental Science Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She developed this unit as part of her graduate work with Project Dragonfly at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in conjunction with the Denver Zoo.

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