In this lesson, students will learn about watersheds, freshwater food webs, and invasive species through a power point presentation, a matching/coloring activity and a board game. First, we will introduce students to the concepts of watersheds, food webs and invasive species. Then we will introduce the Asian Carp, an invasive species that could become a threat to the Great Lakes watershed by traveling up the Mississippi River. Students will fold, match, and color a worksheet that shows an aquatic food web with and without Asian Carp. We will discuss what differences they find and how those differences could have ecological and social effects beyond the scope of the worksheet. Next we will discuss with the students how plants and animals are not static, that is, they can change their strategies to adapt to changes in their environment. To illustrate this point, we will give students a board game they will play in pairs where native species will compete against Asian Carp to get to the “survival” finish line. We will keep track of which species wins among each pair to use as a springboard for discussion of different potential ecological consequences when Asian Carp compete with native species.
At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:
- Name some organisms in a freshwater foodweb
- Explain what an invasive species is and how they have the potential to be harmful to native food webs
- Describe a watershed and name the watershed they live in
- These foundational concepts (food web, species interactions, competition for resources) will provide the students with the contextual tools they need to learn more about co-evolution and ecology in more later science classes.
- Lesson plan
- Powerpoint (pdf, reduced file size)
- Board game guide
- Board game pieces
- Board game board
- Color and match worksheet
Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Bonnie McGill, Di Liang, and Dani Fegan, 2014