Invasive species are plants, animals, insects, bacteria, fungi, and viruses that are not originally from a region that can threaten the health and stability of natural resources once introduced and established. The following is a vetted list of curricula, lesson plans, and educational tools compiled by APIPP’s partners at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for use by K-12 teachers.
When people move, organisms can move along with them - through international trade routes; carried on gear, clothing, vehicles, or boats; shipped in soil, hay, and mulch; or migrating to new geographies as climates shift around the world. Without the precense of naturally occuring predators, or limiting evironmental factors such as native soils or weather, newly introduced species can swiftly outcompete other plants and animals for much needed resources like space, light, or nutrients. In extreme cases, invasive species can disrupt food webs, degrade biodiversity, kill native organisms, negatively impact essential activities like farming and fishing, or damage infrastructure.
Bringing the concept of invasive species into your classroom is an excellent topic to explore Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEPs), Cross Cutting Concepts (CCCs), and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) laid out in national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) around the topics of: Evolution and Adaptation; Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience; Energy Transfers in the Food Web; Species Interactions and Biodiversity; Designing Solutions; and the Impact of Human Activity on the Environment - to name a few!