Invasive Species - Jenny Lynn Ewald

Lesson Plan for my 9th Grade "Genetics" class
4 1-hour periods (including assessment)

Invasive Species Lesson (Jenny Lynn Ewald)

Lesson Plan for 9th Grade “Genetics” (interdisciplinary life science class)

4 regular class periods – 54 minutes each




Students will know what an invasive species is. They will be able to determine whether a species is invasive or not based on criteria. Students will generate data when given info related to population growth rate. Students will be able to create graphs from their data and interpret the information in those graphs. Students will work in small groups and evaluate various forms of population control methods. Groups will reach consensus about which method they feel is best and present their position to the class. Students will compare their predicted outcomes of various control methods with actual outcomes in Australia.


California Academic Content Standards Addressed:


Science standards, Grades Nine through Twelve, Biology/Life Sciences, Ecology

Concept 6: Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. Substandard a: Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.

Substandard b: Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of non-native species, or changes in population size.


Science standards, Grades Nine through Twelve, Investigation and Experimentation

Sub-strand 1: Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other four strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

Standard m: Investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings.




Day 1

1.     Stimulus (warm up question) – 5 min response, 10 min review

2.     What is an invasive species? – 5 min

3.     Case Study: Oryctolagus cuniculus – 30 min


Day 2

1.     Stimulus – 5 min response, 5 min review

2.     Control Measures brainstorm – 10 min

3.     Decision Making Matrix – Remainder of period, about 35 min


Day 3

1.     Consensus – 10 min-ish, group determined

2.     Position Paper – 24 min-ish, group determined

3.     Presentations – 20 minutes


Day 4

1.     Follow up – control methods – 15 min

2.     Invasive species quiz – 40 min, 5 min prep


Learning Activities


Day 1-


Population Calculation – students use information about litter size and number of litters per year to create population growth data for 5 years. They graph the data and interpret it’s meaning


Mapping the spread of the European Rabbit – students use information about where rabbits were found over the years to track their spread, and how quickly they were found throughout the continent.


Population density – Students use recent data collected about population density (rabbits/km2 ) to create a line graph for further interpretation.


Day 2 –


Interpreting graphs – students describe what that graph tells them. They reach the conclusion that some control measures caused a dramatic decrease in population density. Students begin asking what control measures created the decline.


Rabbit control brainstorm – students generate ways to control the population of the invasive rabbits


Decision-making matrix – student groups pretend they are a committee in charge of thinking of a way to deal with the invasive population. They evaluate various control methods (including 2 methods of their groups choice) on assorted criteria.


Day 3 –


Reaching consensus – students engage in group discussion and select what they feel is the best method


Position paper – students put their thoughts into writing by producing a position paper. The paper will introduce the issue, present the group’s position, and provide justification (including reasons why the other methods were not selected)


Presentations – students present their position to the class


Day 4 –


Compare predictions with actual outcomes – students find out which methods were used and what consequences resulted from each. They compared their expected outcomes with actual outcomes


Invasive species quiz – Students answer questions that address multiple levels of Bloom’s taxonomy


Resources Needed


Day 1 –

Copies of Australia map, data, and graph paper for the class

Laptop, Keynote presentation, projector, and projector screen


Day 2 –

Copies of Decision-making matrix for the class


Day 3 –

No new materials required


Day 4 –

Copies of invasive species quiz for the class