In this lesson, students will analyze an intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the effects the Panama Canal expansion may have on the number of invasive species introduced to the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States. The article explains how ballast water and wet surface areas are the two ways the invasive species can travel from port to port. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, 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, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: invasive species, Panama Canal, ecosystems, ballast water, 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?
- Explain how invasive species affect ecosystems.
- Describe how ships can contribute to the introduction of invasive species.
- Explain the importance in considering environmental needs when making management and policy decisions.
- 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.
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 history of the Panama Canal and how ships pass through the canal. The following shows how the Panama Canal revolutionized the shipping industry. This History Channel video "Panama Canal Locks" describes how ships are able to travel through the canal.
- Students should understand the process of ballast water exchange. This graphic titled "The Ballast Water Cycle: How Invasive Species are Introduced Into the Great Lakes" from the International Maritime Organization can help students review.
- Students should have prior knowledge about invasive species and why they are detrimental to the ecosystem. If the teacher needs resources to help students with this topic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a thorough website on invasive species.
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 National Geographic article used in this lesson include: title, subtitle, headings, photographs and captions.
- 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 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 from Gallaudet University provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How do invasive species affect native species?
- If invasive species become established in a new ecosystem, they are often able to out-compete native organisms for food and space. They have been known to decimate the native organisms or cause severe damage to them.
- How do ships contribute to the spread of invasive species?
- Invasive species are often found in the ballast water of ships and when that water is released, the invasive species are able to enter into the new ecosystem. Sometimes they die right away, but many times they are able to establish themselves and become detrimental both environmentally and economically to the area. Invasive species can also be transported via a ship's hull; organisms can cling to the submerged parts of the hull, called the "wetted surface area," and then establish themselves in new ecosystems as a ship stops at different ports.
- Why is it important to have ballast water management policies?
- Ballast water can contain a variety of living organisms including plants, animals, bacteria, etc. If the ballast water is released into ports and contains foreign or harmful species, those species might soon establish themselves and upset the balance of the native ecosystem.
- Why is it important to create additional or more restrictive management policies to help stem the potential increase of invasive species due to the Panama Canal expansion?
- The study of the Panama Canal expansion predicts that the amount of ballast water released in a typical East Coast port will nearly double in the first five years and increase by 78% along the Gulf. The wetted surface area will nearly triple in both regions. With this increased threat of more invasive species entering new ecosystems in these areas, additional or more restrictive management polices will need to be enforced. In addition, there are currently no regulations to help stem the threat of organisms clinging to ship's hulls, and this area must be addressed as well.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by showing students several pictures. These might include the , fire ants, and a lionfish. Ask students what these images have in common with each other. Some students will know they are invasive species that have caused both economic and environmental problems in many different areas across the United States.
- Have students play PBS NOVA's "Invasive Species Matching Game." Discuss with students if any of the species found in the game affect their area. Discuss what the students know about invasive species in their area (this will be dependent on the region of the country students live in).
- Ask students if they know how invasive species get introduced into a native ecosystem. Students might suggest people release organisms into the ecosystems, they were released originally as a biological control method, etc.
- Explain to them that invasive species are introduced into native ecosystems in a variety of ways, including humans who have released them, some invasive species are deliberately released, others might have arrived in ballast water, or attached to a ship.
- Show this picture that helps explain what ballast water is and how the process works. Point out to students that ships are able to carry invasive species in their ballast water as well on the hull of the ship.
- Finally tell students they will be reading an article from National Geographic titled "Panama Canal: Superhighway for Invasive Species?" that discusses a study on how the expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to cause an increase in invasive species on the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States. The expansion of the canal is expected to triple the number of ships at some ports. Ports that will have a large amount of traffic are at a higher risk of invasion by an invasive species.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Pass out to each student a copy of the National Geographic "Panama Canal: Superhighway for Invasive Species?" or make it available to students electronically.
- For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to 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).
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide. 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 section. 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 note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
- If students struggle with determining the meaning of some of the vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them:
- Behemoths (Paragraph 2): Something very big and powerful. There are a few context clues within the paragraph the term is used in. The paragraph is describing the size of the ships, and the measurements are very large.
- Perish (Paragraph 7): To die or be killed. Students should use the context clue found within the sentence "many alien species...leave no trace." There is also a clue in the next sentence with the transition word "however." This sentence shows that some invasive species survive and become established in the new ecosystem. If only some survive, it means that others die.
- Decimate (Paragraph 7): To destroy or damage a large group of something. The sentence following the use of the word is the context clue. It describes how the zebra mussel has inflicted grave damage on native ecosystems.
- Homogenization (Paragraph 15): To change something so all of the parts are the same or similar. The sentence in paragraph 15 that contains the term reads, "…by opening up and expanding all these corridors...." This provides the clue needed to understand the meaning of the word as this portion of the text describes how plants and animals are being found in areas outside their native habitats. Students can also use the prefix "homo," which means "the same," to help them determine the meaning of the word.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, and possibly a grade. 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.
- 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 think animals are the only invasive species. Invasive species also include plants, fungus, protists, and bacteria.
- There is debate on whether all invasive species are harmful to the environment. The following National Geographic article "Opinion: It's Time to Stop Thinking all Non-Native Species are Evil" allows for a discussion on this topic.
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.
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 the 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 have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class (note: The sample response is written in the form of an extended response, not in the form of a formal essay). Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead orwithanLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students identify effective use of textual evidence from the article throughout the written response. Text evidence should help the writer explain how invasive species are transported via ships and why effective management policies need to be in place in order to stop the spread of invasive species.
- Have students identify effective and accurate use of domain-specific vocabulary (e.g., invasive species, ballast water, goby, tunicate, algae, wakame, ecosystems).
- At the end of the lesson: Have students sketch out a picture of two main science concepts they learned from reading and discussing the article. Allow approximately 5-10 minutes to complete the assignment and then have students hand in their work for teacher review or they can share their work with the class.
- 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. 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: Using evidence from the text, answer the following question: Why is it important to have management policies in place concerning shipping practices in order to prevent the spread of invasive species?
- 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.