Lesson plans and teachers notes introduction
This is an Action Oriented Approach for learning about environmental weeds. Follow the link to get a broad picture of the way these resources could fit into an environmental project, such as, stream or forest restoration.
The field trip is a chance to become familiar with the local area and the potential for a restoration project. Contact your regional council, the Department of Conservation or local Landcare group for advice and support. What restoration projects are already happening? Who owns that interesting patch of bush, stream bank or swamp?
You could spend either a half or full day out in the field.
Indigenous ecosystems and species are threatened by human actions.
Discussing possible action projects to improve your local environment.
Groups of people working together can make a difference.
Students will be able to identify some local natural habitats and some plants and animals that depend on them.
Students will be able to discuss the values that are important to maintain or enhance in the environment.
Students will be able to identify the threats posed to natural habitats.
Students will be able to identify weedy areas in their local environment.
Students will be able to identify possible action projects to help the environment.
The field trip.
Using the Natural Heritage Restoration Sheets as a guide:
- Explore your school grounds, local park, reserve, farmland, gully, bush or community area for natural and weedy areas.
- Map and photograph interesting sites.
- Which plants are natives and which are introduced.
- Record your exploration and weed finds with a digital camera or video camera. The images could be used back in class for identifying purposes or as part of the action project!
- Investigate how weeds may have got to the areas where you found them. Are there any obvious signs, for example seeds, boats, vehicles and other human activity?
- Check out the differences between weeds and native plants. Conduct leaf or bark rubbings of weeds (non-poisonous) and natives and compare their characteristics.
- Explore the surrounding habitats of weeds and natives for animals or insects. Compare the amount and variety of things found. Why might there be differences?
- Brainstorm ideas about the importance of natural areas.
- Contact a local person who may be affected by weeds (farmer, gardener or horticulturist) and invite them to join you on your field trip. They could provide some great expertise or a different viewpoint!
Back at School:
Use the data collected and experience gained on the field trip to continue planning the restoration project. Create your own Natural Heritage Restoration Sheets and put them on the classroom wall to show how work is progressing.
When you get to consider the weed threats, use the lessons in the 'Investigate' section to dig into weeds
The 'investigate' section of the Weedbusters Unit has been designed to encourage learning about invasive weeds in our environment. The environmental education concepts of sustainability, biodiversity and interdependence are introduced through experiential games and independent learning activities.
The 'investigate' section could be explored over two to four weeks. The first set of activities for each lesson are considered to be essential learning with extra activities included if you wish to carry the learning ideas further.
The Weedy quiz was designed as an evaluation tool but can also be used as a diagnostic and summative assessment for students. It should be completed before starting the 'investigate' section and used again at the end of the unit!
Taking part in a restoration project gives students the chance to put all their learning into practice. Students become the decision makers and feel empowered when planning and completing an action project. Taking action for the environment is about taking responsibility, gaining a sense of guardianship and knowing you can make a difference! The Natural Heritage Restoration Sheets can guide the planning and action in your project. They could be copied onto large sheets of paper and hung around the classroom or school hall.
Use the Project Evaluation (page 12 of the Natural Heritage restoration Sheets) as a means of explaining and justifying your project.
Restoration projects are long term commitments. If you are clearing and replanting a 'weedy' site you may adopt the area and return every year to check out its progress and plan the next steps. Do a little each year. Areas you clear this year will grow weeds again unless the ground is quickly covered in natives.
Developing a sense of responsibility for the environment.
Participating in an action project that will benefit the environment.
Everyone can make a difference!
Respect for other ideas in the action planning and decision making process.
Students will take part in an environmental project, developing a sense of ownership, responsibility and take action for the environment.
- Natural Heritage Restoration Sheets
Further Action Ideas!
Design pamphlets about the weeds found in your local area. You could include information about why they are a problem and how people could get rid of them. You may be able to send the pamphlet home with your school newsletter or do a drop in your local neighbourhood!
Create bright and informative posters to be displayed in your school or even at your local library or shopping centre. Get the weed message out into your community.
Organise a weed event at your school and invite your community! You could set up a weed walk around your school grounds and create labels for each plant. This could be a great chance to show off your Pool of Knowledge, crime file posters or even your dried herbariums.
Adopt an area in your school or local community that you could take care of. You may have to get rid of the weeds and prepare the ground for a new planting of native plants. This could be an on-going action project that your school could be responsible for weeding and maintaining.
Organise a weed swap where people are given a native plant for every weed they bring in. You may be able to get native plants donated and arrange for the swap to take place at your local transfer station to encourage people to get rid of their weeds properly.
Put on your green fingers and have a go at growing native plants. Get in touch with your local plant nursery and see if they can provide some expertise! You may be able to set up your own propagating unit and plant the native plants you grow in your school grounds. (see the Trees for Survival programme www.treesforsurvival.org.nz ) for information on how you could set up a growing unit in your school.
Set up your own school environmental group! Arrange meetings and plan how you could inform other kids in your school about weeds and other environmental issues.
Undertake the gorse spider mite biological control study. You may get up to a stage where you could be releasing them in your local area. Make this a community/school celebration and invite the media. Prepare a media release.
Source: Thanks to Environment Bay of Plenty for permission to use and modify their "Weedbusters, an integrated teaching resource for primary schools" .