Teaching Material

Be Aquatic Invasive Species Aware Unit

This unit is designed for grades 6-8.
Creation of this unit was supported by the Flathead Lake Biological Station, the Flathead Lakers, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
 

 

Be AIS Aware Unit Overview

 

 

Through teaching this unit, students will be introduced to aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are potential threats to Montana waters. These lessons explore pathways of introduction, methods of dispersal, potential environmental impacts, distribution of these organisms, and adaptations that make these species invasive, as well as impacts on different community stakeholder groups.

The unit overview (link below) includes recommended teaching sequence and standards being met by each of the lessons.

 

Unit Overview (pdf)

 

 

Lesson 1: Wonder Whys of AIS

 

Overview

In this lesson students will be introduced to five non-native aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are potential threats to Montana waters. This lesson will explore pathways of introduction, methods of dispersal, potential environmental impacts, distribution of these organisms, as well as, adaptations that make these species invasive.

Lesson Plan

Wonder Whys of AIS Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Materials 

AIS Stations (pdf)

AIS Distribution Maps (pdf)

Aquatic Invasive Species Field Guide (pdf)

Montana Reference Map (pdf)

Presentation

Wonder Whys of AIS Presentation(pdf)

 

 

 

Lesson 2: Food Web Challenge

Overview

In this lesson, students complete a lake food web challenge, learn how all organisms in the lake ecosystem are interconnected, and explain how aquatic invasive species can impact the food web.

Lesson Plan

Food Web Challenge Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Materials

Food Web Challenge Cards (pdf)

Presentation

Food Web Challenge Presentation (pdf)

Lesson 3: Mapping AIS Mayhem

Overview

In this lesson, students will examine invasive mussel distribution maps to learn how fast invasive mussels can disperse over time, discuss how the mussels move from place to place, and explain how they could impact their local economy and environment.

Lesson Plan

Mapping AIS Mayhem Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Materials

Columbia River Basin Map (jpg)

Flathead Region Map (jpg)

Montana Reference Map (pdf)

Watershed Map (pdf)

Presentation

Mapping AIS Mayhem Presentation (pdf)

 

Lesson 4: AIS Mussel Mania

Overview

Students will compare and contrast native freshwater mussels to invasive zebra and quagga mussels, and learn how their life cycles, anatomy, and habitat preference are similar or different to each other.

Lesson Plan

AIS Mussel Mania Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Material

Freshwater Mussel Life Cycle part A (pdf)

Freshwater Mussel Life Cycle part B (pdf)

Invasive Mussel Life Cycle (pdf)

Zebra Mussel Anatomy (pdf)

 

 

Lesson 5: Most Unwanted AIS Poster

Overview

In this lesson, students will create an informational poster about aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are a threat to their local environment and economy. The poster may be completed as either an electronic document or as a hard-copy poster. To educate the school community, the finished posters can be posted in the school and/or compiled into a document that can be shared electronically.

Lesson Plan

Most Unwanted AIS Poster Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Materials

Most Unwanted AIS Presentation example (pdf)

Lesson 6: Amazing AIS Adaptations

Overview

In this lesson, students will design an imaginary aquatic invasive species (AIS), and explain how AIS have physical, chemical, and/or behavioral adaptations that help them outcompete other species.

Lesson Plan

Amazing AIS Adaptations Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Material

Amazing AIS Adaptations Cards (pdf)

Presentation

Amazing AIS Adaptations Presentation (pdf)

 

Lesson 7: Managing AIS

Overview:

In this lesson, small groups of students will have 15-20 minutes to read one fact sheet and watch one short video about the impacts of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) on various stakeholder groups in Montana. They will prepare and give a short presentation to share with the class about their stakeholder. They will be challenged with an AIS management scenario and asked to reflect on the impact for their particular stakeholder.

Lesson Plan

Managing AIS Lesson Plan (pdf)

Additional Material

Stakeholder Readings (pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Connections: Mussel Walk

A culminating activity after completing the AIS lessons is to have the students participate in a Mussel Walk along a local shoreline. Suggested activities will be added to this site in the near future.

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