Native vs. Non-Native Plants

Driving or Multi-dimensional Question:

You have been asked to create a PSA to inform others of the dangers that non-native plants have on ecosystem stability in the Tennessee Valley. The PSA should explain how non-native species cause ecosystem instability, provide solutions for avoiding their introduction and/or create a plan to eradicate current non-native plants.

Unit Summary:

This PBL unit will ask students to explore proper resource management techniques as students identify native and non-native plants found in the Tennessee Valley. This unit will require students to identify common native and non-native plants found in the Tennessee Valley.

In addition, students will identify non-native, invasive plants found in the Tennessee Valley and explain how their presence impacts ecosystem stability. Then they will create a PSA (public service announcement) to help others understand the effects of introducing non-native species into the environment and provide solutions to prevent further spread of and/or eradicate these non-native plants.

Hook Event:

Think-Pair-Share Activity
Imagine that aliens have invaded this planet. Have students think about how an alien invasion could negatively impact us. Then students will pair with a fellow classmate and share their thoughts.

Culminating Event:

Students will create a PSA video or poster to inform others of the dangers that non-native species have on ecosystem stability in the Tennessee Valley. Students will present their PSAs at a school STEM night.

 

Standards

Science Standards:

6.LS4: Biological Change: Unity and Diversity 1) Explain how changes in biodiversity would impact ecosystem stability and natural resources.

6.LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics 3) Draw conclusions about the transfer of energy through a food web and energy pyramid in an ecosystem.

Math Standards:

6.SP.A.2 Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center (mean, median, mode), spread (range), and overall shape.

ELA and Other Standards:

6.SL.PKI.5 Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.

6.SL.PKI.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Digital Readiness (Computer Science):
AIT.6 Collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

CCP.22 Interpret the flow of execution of algorithms and predict their outcomes.

Created By: Molly Plyler
Grade Level or Subject: 6th Grade

Tennessee Academic Standards for Science Connection

Disciplinary Core Idea: LS- Life Sciences
Science and Engineering Practices: CEDS – Constructing explanations and designing solutions to explain phenomena or solve problems.
Cross Cutting Concepts: SC – Stability and change of systems EM – Energy and matter conservation through transformations that flow or cycle into, out of, or within a system

21st Century Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication Skills
  • Collaboration (Team Building)
  • Creativity and Innovation

Daily Activities

For more information on this lesson please see the Lesson Resources below

  Activities Resources and Materials
Activity One

Alien Invaders: A Threat to Ecosystem Stability

KWL Organizer for Non-Native Species

In the first column, students will write what they know about non-native species and how they impact biodiversity and ecosystem stability. In the second column, students will write what they want to know about non-native species and how they impact biodiversity and ecosystem stability. After students watch the provided videos, they will complete the last column with what they learned about non-native species and how they impact biodiversity and ecosystem stability.

National Park Service: Managing Invasive Species https://www.nps.gov/subjects/invasive/index.htm

Knoxville News Sentinel: TVA Manages Invasive Species in Area Waterways https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCEKI41H_bI

Tennessee Aquarium: A Battle Worth Carping About (Part 1): The Asian Invasion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjAvV5cN0WA&feature=emb_logo

Activity Two

Food Chains & Ecosystem Disruptions 

Creative Coding

Using Brain Pop’s Creative Coding website, create a newscast to review your knowledge about food chains and energy flow through ecosystems. Remember to change the Creative Coding “backgrounds” to see how food chain disruptions can impact an ecosystem’s stability.

Food Chains & Ecosystem Disruptions

Creative Coding

Using Brain Pop’s Creative Coding website, create a newscast to review your knowledge about food chains and energy flow through ecosystems. Remember to change the Creative Coding “backgrounds” to see how food chain disruptions can impact an ecosystem’s stability.

Activity Three

Plants of the Tennessee Valley

Memory Game

Students will research native and non-native plants found in the Tennessee Valley. A list of relevant websites has been provided.

Using note cards, students will paste a picture of one labelled plant on one card and the plant’s name and identification as native or non-native plant on the second card. Students will repeat this process for 8 different plants, four native and four non-native.

Once students have created their note cards (16 total = 8 with pictures and 8 with name and native vs. non-native identification), they will find a partner and play a game of “Memory.”

All note cards will be face down. One person will select two cards and try to match a plant’s picture to its identification and name. If the person correctly matches the two cards, they may keep the cards. If the cards are not a match, they will place the cards face down and the other student will have a turn.

The game will continue until all plant cards are correctly matched. The person with the most pairs will win.

Tennessee Valley Authority

https://www.tva.gov/file_source/TVA/Site%20Content/Environment/Environmental%20Stewardship/Land%20Management/plantguide.pdf

Tennessee Valley Authority

https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Environmental-Stewardship/Anglers-Aquatic-Plant-ID/How-TVA-Manages-Aquatic-Plants

USGS (note: plants are at the end of the list)

https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?Group=&Sortby=1&state=TN

Tennessee Invasive Plant Council

https://www.tnipc.org/invasive-plants/

Wild Ones: Tennessee Valley Chapter

https://tennesseevalley.wildones.org/learn/invasive-pest-plants/

Tennessee State Government

https://www.tn.gov/protecttnforests/forest-health/invasive-plants.html

Activity Four

Tracking the Invaders

Case Study: Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)

After viewing the provided resources, students should answer the following questions:

What trends do you see with regards to the spread or range of Hydrilla? What do the maps, provided in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service document, tell you about hydrilla’s climate preference? Think in terms of mean, median and mode. If hydrilla continues to invade other U.S. states, which states do you think will be next? Explain your answer.

Tennessee Valley Authority

https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Environmental-Stewardship/Anglers-Aquatic-Plant-ID/Hydrilla-(D%E2%80%93Hyrdilla,-M%E2%80%93Hydrilla)

Cornell University’s Naturalist Outreach (11 minute video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syyl039vAZA&feature=emb_logo

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/ANS/erss/highrisk/Hydrilla-verticillata-dioecious-ERSS-FINAL.pdf

Activity Five

Public Service Announcement (PSA)

 

Tennessee Valley Non-Native Species PSA

Students will create a PSA video or poster about one or more non-native plant species found in the Tennessee Valley. The PSA should inform others of the dangers that non-native species have on ecosystem stability, solutions for avoiding their introduction and/or a plan to eradicate their presence.

Students will present their PSA to the class. Later PSAs will be presented at a school STEM night.

Center for Digital Education: How to Create the Perfect PSA

https://www.govtech.com/education/news/how-to-create-the-perfect-public-service-announcement.html

Tennessee Invasive Plant Council: Plant Alternatives to Non-Native Invasives

https://www.tnipc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/alternatives_printableweb2016.pdf

Activity Six

Optional Extension: Informative Website

Students learn how to create a webpage or website using HTML and CSS using the Hour of Code tutorial from HTML Academy. They will then pair program to create a webpage or website using Code.org’s Web Lab. The webpage or website must be about a particular aspect of resource management with regards to native and non-native plants of the Tennessee Valley

Pair Programming video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7d_JtyCq1A&vl=en

Hour of Code tutorials on how to create a webpage using HTML and CSS can be found athttps://hourofcode.com/htmlmuffin

Code.org’s Web Lab – https://studio.code.org/projects

Activity Seven

Optional Extension: Field Trip to State or Federal Park

Go on a class field trip to a State or Federal Park. Work with local natural resource management personnel to remove non-native species and plant native species.

 

Technology Integration: Students will use digital productivity tools, Brain Pop’s Creative Coding website and the Internet for research, assignments and PSA creation. As an extension activity, students may also use Code.org’s Web Lab programming environment and HTML Academy’s “H

Community Partners Contribution to Learning Experience Contact Information

TVA Natural Resource Management professional

Guest speaker –  discusses common native and non-native plants local to the area

 

National or State Park Ranger

Field trip – students travel to a national or state park to see firsthand how non-native species impact local ecosystems

 

Local nursery or landscaping company

Guest speaker – discusses the advantages of using native plants in residential landscaping

 

Capstone Presentation:

Students will create a PSA video or poster to inform others of the dangers that non-native species have on ecosystem stability in the Tennessee Valley and provide solutions for avoiding their introduction and/or eradicating them. Students will present their PSAs at a school STEM night.

Lesson Resources