Aquatic Invasive Species Impacts to Students

Aquatic Invasive Species Education Project

Impacts to Students’ Lives

An invasive species is a non-native species that threatens the economy, the environment, and/or human health. Although these threats may not have a direct effect on the students themselves, they certainly could have an impact on others around them. For example, some invasive species have such a devastating impact on ecosystems that people can no longer enjoy them for recreation or use them for commercial use. Any impact on tourism or commercial use of natural systems also impacts the economy. To understand how students are impacted by invasive species, the following module delves into lessons featuring the Green Crab, Hydrilla, Rock Snot, West Nile Virus, and Zebra Mussels.


Hydrilla wrapped around a boat motor by Michigan Sea Grant

Hydrilla wrapped around a boat motor by Michigan Sea Grant

The goal of this project is to raise awareness about invasive species and to turn that awareness into action to prevent and to manage current and future invasions. The project consists of lesson plans and corresponding hands-on items designed to teach the story about invasive species. Each lesson plan has been aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, and Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards. Lesson plans in each module include activities for Grades 3-12. To download the module, click the link below.

If you would like access to download the project, please email Kerry Wixted: Kerry.wixted@maryland.gov


Crab Controversy -- Grades 3-5
Students will actively simulate how invasive Green Crabs impact soft-shell clam fisheries.

Green Crab Round Robin -- Grades 9-12
Students will learn about the issues with Green Crab invasion and will represent different stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay to understand how Green Crabs threaten their livelihoods.

Hydrilla-The Traveling Plant -- Grades 3-12; Scenario Cards
Students will actively simulate how Hydrilla is spread while learning about its impacts to the environment and students’ lives.

Spreading of Rock Snot -- Grades 6-8
Students will simulate the spread of Didymo and will learn about ways to prevent the spread.

West Nile Virus, Mosquitoes, and You -- Grades 9-12
Students will learn about Asian Tiger Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus as well as actively trap and identify mosquitoes to assess potential threats in their communities.

Zebra Mussels Invade the Chesapeake Bay -- Grades 6-8
Students will map the invasion of Zebra Mussels in the Chesapeake Bay and will create a mock news segment discussing the invasion and its impacts on different people.

Education Kits

Aquatic Invasive Species Education kits are also available with printed lesson plans, activity resources, and hands-on items to teach about the 16 species highlighted in the modules.

To borrow a free kit in Maryland, please click here to find a location nearest you.

To find a kit in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., or West Virginia, please click here.