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Grade: 3-5
Subject: Science

#4580. How to prevent alien invasions!

Science, level: 3-5
Posted Fri Mar 30 13:30:03 PDT 2012 by Emma Bothwell (Emma Bothwell).
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Materials Required: biodegradable cups, soil, seeds of local plant species
Activity Time: approx. 20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Invasive species

Part 1) Lesson Plan
Part 2) Worksheet

Part 1) How to prevent alien invasions!

Introduction
o Who has a flower garden at home? At school?
o What kinds of flowers (species) are in your garden?

Did you know that not all species in the garden are local to Ontario?

o Activity: Show a world map and have pictures of these flowers and ask where they think the flowers are from.
Tulips: Europe
Black-eyed Susan: North America
Daffodils: North Africa
Rose of Sharon: Asia
Bleeding hearts: North America

o Definition of native plant species: A species that grows naturally in an area.
o Definition of alien species: A species that is introduced to an area
When first introduced to a new area, these new plants are not harmful.
An example is the helleborine orchid. It is an alien species from eastern North American mixed woodlands that have spread into Ontario. This flower does not harm local flowers.
They become harmful as they use up the food, water, and space, leaving little for the native plants.

An example is the Asian flower as it takes pollinators such as bees away from local flowers. This means that the local flowers do not get pollinated.


How did alien species get here in the first place?
o Alien species first arrived in Ontario by European settlers that brought a lot of plants to grow in Canada. Nowadays, they can enter and spread by cars and trucks, boats, people buying them to plant in their own gardens, and many other ways!
o These alien plants are able to spread because they are able to grow very well in all types of habitats and climates.

But why do alien species cause problems globally?
o Global impacts of alien species
We want to minimize the spread and impact of alien species for three main reasons.
1. The first big reason is to maintain biodiversity. Biodiversity is the collection of species you can find in a habitat. We want to enjoy the many different types of flowers we see in our gardens, and alien species can reduce the number of flowers we see. When the alien species invade a new habitat, they begin to take over and outcompete the native plants. Eventually, they take over the habitat completely, eliminating the native plants entirely! So we want to stop alien species from spreading to protect the environment.
2. The second is that it can be expensive to get rid of alien species and it can also cost a lot to deal with the effects of these species.
3. The last reason is that sometimes, the strategy used to get rid of the alien species can affect us and our health. For example, the most common way to get rid of unwanted weeds and plants in our gardens is to use pesticides. These are dangerous to our health. They can cause our eyes and skin to itch, and some can even cause cancer.

Humans also depend on natural habitats and communities for lots of things such as wood and using plants in medicine. Alien species can disturb these natural communities by changing them which can affect us.

Why do aliens cause problems locally?
o Why it's important to protect native species
It can cost lots of money to fix problem caused by alien species.
We want to prevent alien species from taking over because they can change the soil, which can be harmful to the growth of native plant
Lots of native species are threatened by alien species
Some examples of threatened species:
Red mulberry, found in Ontario, threatened by white mulberry
Wood poppy, only in Ontario, threatened by garlic mustard
White wood aster, in Ontario, threatened by garlic mustard

How can we prevent spread of alien species?
o This is how scientists are trying to stop the spread of alien species:
Biological controls: use other plants or animals to control the spread of the alien species.
o This is how you can help prevent the spread of alien species!
Plant local flower species in your garden.
If you're going camping, buy local firewood and leave unused firewood at the camp site.
If you're travelling somewhere outside Canada, make sure you don't bring any plants, seeds, or fruits with you when you come back!
Learn which plants are native and which are alien by asking mom/dad or your local garden store.
Once you know what an alien species looks like, if you see it in your garden, pull it out!

Hands-on addition to lesson: local flower species planting activity (in school garden, or in biodegradable cups to take home to plant)
While talking to the kids about native and non-native species, focus on the following species to provide specific examples of plants that are from Frontenac
County and plants that are not native. Make sure that the species used in the hands-on planting project is one of the native focal species.

- Alien: purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), butter-and-eggs (Linaria vulgaris), yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus), giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).

- Native: columbines (Aquilegia spp.), foamflower (Tiarella spp.), bluebells (Mertensia virginica), trillium, and Solomon°¶s seal (Polygonatum spp.)


Curriculum Requirements (for grades 3 and 4)

Grade 3: fits in with plants units, assess the impact of different human activities on plants, and list personal actions they can engage in to minimize harmful effects and enhance good effects.
Sample prompts: When humans provide common house plants and blooming potted plants with an appropriate environment, they help fight pollution indoors. When humans plant trees, they benefit the environment in many different ways. When humans fill in wetlands to build houses, they destroy an important habitat that supports many plants. When humans pick wildflowers or dig them up to replant in their home gardens, they harm a natural habitat that supports many living things. When humans plant non-native plants and trees that need pesticides and/or a lot of water to survive, they drive out native plants and trees that are adapted to our climate and that provide habitat and food for native birds, butterflies, and mammals.


Grade 4: analyse the positive and negative impacts of human interactions with natural habitats and communities (e.g., human dependence on natural materials), taking different perspectives into account (e.g., the perspectives of a housing developer, a family in need of housing, an ecologist), and evaluate ways of minimizing the negative impacts identify reasons for the depletion or extinction of a plant or animal species (e.g., hunting, disease, invasive species, changes in or destruction of its habitat), evaluate the impacts on the rest of the natural community, and propose possible actions for preventing such depletions or extinctions from happening.

Part 2) Sample Worksheet

How to prevent alien invasions worksheet
1. Define native species and alien species.
a. Native plant species: A species that grows naturally in an area.
b. Alien species: A species that is introduced to an area

2. Describe one way that alien species arrived in Ontario and Canada.
a. Alien species first arrived in Ontario by European settlers that brought a lot of plants to grow in Canada.
b. Nowadays, they can enter and spread by cars and trucks, boats, people buying them to plant in their own gardens, and many other ways!

3. How do alien species affect humans?
a. Sometimes, the strategy used to get rid of the alien species can affect our health. For example, the most common way to get rid of unwanted weeds and plants in our gardens is to use pesticides. These are dangerous to our health. They can cause our eyes and skin to itch, and some can even cause cancer.
b. Humans also depend on natural habitats and communities for lots of things such as wood and using plants in medicine.

4. Name one native species that is threatened by an alien species (name the alien species too).
a. Red mulberry threatened by white mulberry
b. Wood poppy threatened by garlic mustard
c. White wood aster threatened by garlic mustard

5. Name one way to prevent the spread of alien species.
a. Plant local flower species in your garden.
b. If youíre going camping, buy local firewood and leave unused firewood at the camp site.
c. If youíre travelling somewhere outside Canada, make sure you donít bring any plants, seeds, or fruits with you when you come back!
d. Learn which plants are native and which are alien by asking mom/dad or your local garden store. Once you know what an alien species looks like, if you see it in your garden, pull it out!