In this lesson, students will read an article from National Geographic that discusses the plan of the New Zealand government to eliminate invasive predators from the country by 2050. The article further goes on to discuss the effects the predators have had on the native wildlife. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a vocabulary handout, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: invasive species, invasive predator, New Zealand, kiwi, endangered, kakapo, text complexity, informational text
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Describe the effects invasive predators have had on the native organisms of New Zealand.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion or concluding statement.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
With regard to science content knowledge:
- To help students fully understand the text used in this lesson, students should be familiar with the native animals of New Zealand. This from the New Zealand Department of Conservation will provide information on these animals.
- Students should be aware of the animals that are considered to be invasive species or pests in New Zealand. The Department of Conservation provides an alphabetical listing of organisms so students can explore on their own as needed.
- Students should understand the effects invasive species have on native ecosystems. This article from NOVA titled "The Impact of Invasive Species" explains the impact of invasive species worldwide.
With regard to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial, as would use of dictionary skills.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the article used in this lesson include a title, subtitle, a photograph, and two captions. There is also an embedded video in the online version of the article.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion or concluding statement that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why are invasive species such a problem for New Zealand?
New Zealand has many unique organisms that evolved without any threat by mammalian predators. As a result, they are very vulnerable to species such as rats, possums, and stoats. Many of these native organisms are listed as threatened or endangered species, so it is important that something be done about these invasive predators.
- What are the short and long-term goals for New Zealand in their effort to rid the country of invasive predators?
New Zealand hopes to have many of the introduced predators removed from 2.5 million acres of land by 2025, as well as a complete removal of all introduced predators from the country's island nature reserves by this date as well. By 2050, they hope to have all invasive predators eradicated from the country. This is considered a very large undertaking by New Zealand because nothing like this has ever been implemented before.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by asking students to brainstorm everything they know about invasive species. Expected responses may include that invasive species compete against native organisms - invasive species like the zebra mussel, the kudzu vine, and lionfish. Discuss with students the impact invasive species can have on the biodiversity of an area. Explain to students as invasive species are introduced to an area, there are a variety of effects they can have. Approximately 42% of threatened and endangered species are at risk from invasive species (National Wildlife Foundation stats). They can also cause economic damage to areas and spread disease.
- Next show students a of New Zealand. Ask if students are aware of or know of any organisms that live there. A few might be familiar with the kiwi bird, but they will probably not be familiar with many others. Show pictures of some of the native animals found there: the kakapo, the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat, and the Kea bird.
- Show students the following video that explains the effect invasive species are having on the organisms of New Zealand and what the government is planning on doing about it. The video provides a good overview for the article students will read in the guided practice.
- Finally, let students know they will be reading an article from National Geographic that discusses the plan the government of New Zealand has to eradicate invasive predators from the country. The article provides insight on the reason behind the plan and some ways in which the plan will be implemented.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Pass out to each student a titled "New Zealand Announces Plan to Wipe Out Invasive Predators" or make it available to students electronically.
- Teachers should have students number each paragraph of the article. If using an electronic copy of the article, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
- Have students use text coding to help them identify or take notice of the following as they read the article for the first time.
- Consider using the following text coding:
- I = Invasive Predator
- NO = Native Organism
- P = Plans or Policies
- C = Concerns for implementation of the plan
- Explain to students whenever they come across information about the invasive predators, they can write an I in the margin of the text. When the article references native organisms, they can write an "no" in the margin of the text. They will do this for each of the items listed (teachers can add more items or remove certain items to meet the needs of their students.)
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: New Zealand Announces Plan to Wipe Out Invasive Predators
- Heading: Small Mammals, Big Challenge
- Captions: Located under the opening photograph and the embedded video
- Have students read and mark the text (have the text coding items displayed for students). The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Provide each student with the vocabulary word list. Have students complete this guide during or after their first reading of the article. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary terms. Students can work individually, in pairs, or with a small group.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the vocabulary word list.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words (e.g., context clues, word parts, dictionary skills). For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words.
- If students use dictionaries to look up the meanings of academic vocabulary words with multiple meanings, encourage students to continually refer back to the text to see how the word is used in context. This can help them eliminate definitions that just don't work in context, and this will help them narrow down their choices to select the most appropriate definition. Also, if students can determine the part of speech (e.g., verb, noun, adjective) for the vocabulary word used in the text, it can help them eliminate definitions that won't apply.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by having students share out what they text coded on the article, and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion. Students can also share out their answers to the defined vocabulary words, and the teacher can provide corrective feedback when needed.
- Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers for the vocabulary words. The answer key also provides tips teachers can use to help students use context clues to help them define some of the words.
- For discussion on students’ answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to give alternative suggestions on ways the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors or misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students often believe that only animals can be invasive species. Invasive species are plants, animals, fungus, etc. See the following website by the National Wildlife Federation and the section "What makes a species invasive?"
- The role invasive species have on the extinction of animals is a matter of great debate. A new study conducted on the extinction of species ranks invasive species as the second leading cause. Other ecologists disagree and say their role is overstated. The following article by New Scientist titled "Invasive Species Blamed as Second Biggest Cause of Extinctions" discusses this issue at hand.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use this sample answer key to assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text-dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
- After students' written responses for the summative assessment have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with anLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students identify effective use of textual evidence from the article throughout the written response.
- Have students identify effective and accurate use of domain-specific vocabulary (e.g., organism, stoat, invasive predator, mammalian, endangered, native wildlife, species) and academic vocabulary (e.g., evolved, vulnerable, initiative, eradicate, iconic).
- At the end of the lesson: Have students respond to the following questions on an exit ticket.
- The science concept I can clearly explain
- The science concept I still have a question about is...
- Invasive species are...
- Invasive species have the ability to...
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. If using the attached rubric to assess students' work, they should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion or concluding statement. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address:
Prompt: Explain New Zealand's plan to eradicate invasive predators and the expected outcomes it hopes to achieve as the plan is implemented. Use evidence from the text to support your response.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Ellen Muse
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.