On March 8th, Dave Williams (GK-12 partner teacher and RET) and Liz Schultheis (GK-12 fellow) presented at the Michigan Science Teachers Association Conference (MSTA). Dave developed this lesson while working as an RET in Jen Lau’s lab, where graduate student Liz studies the role of enemies in plant invasions. The lesson covers invasive species in Michigan (like purple loosestrife and garlic mustard), and guides students through collecting data to test the Enemy Release Hypothesis – which posits that invasive species escape from natural enemies in their invasive range, contributing to their success. In this lesson, students develop predictions, design experimental sampling methods, collect data, and create graphs for data interpretation. Participants were also introduced to Data Nuggets – activities where students can practice making claims based on scientific data.
Lesson and other materials available via these links:
- Presentation Slides
- The Story in the Understory Worksheet
- ERH Leaves Worksheet
- ERH Leaves Worksheet with species info
- Oak leaves
- Native/invasive leaves
- Next Generation Science Standards Covered
- Data Nugget: Do invasive species escape their enemies?
- Data Nugget: Do insects prefer local or exotic foods?
- Oak Enemy Release Lesson