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Activities and Lesson Plans

Alien Invaders!
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, January 2010

You may print Alien Invaders! children's pages from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. We hope you'll consider a subscription to our magazine. Be sure to check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine special offer for teachers. And please let us know your suggestions for future issues at:

Suggested Topics: regions of Texas, geography, settlement, history, plants and animals, diversity, adaptation, conservation

Related 4th Grade TEKS:

Language Arts
4.13 B, C, F: Reading, Inquiry, Research : Inquires and Conducts Research Using a Variety of Sources
4.15 B: Writing/purposes. Writes for a Variety of Audiences and Purposes
Social studies:
4.7 B, C: Geography: Regions: human activity, landforms, climate, vegetation from physical characteristics
4.9 C: Geography: Humans Adapt to and Modify their Environment
4.1 A: Scientific Processes: Conducts Field and Laboratory Investigations
4.2 A, B, C, D, E: Scientific Processes: Develops Abilities to do Scientific Inquiry in Field and Laboratory
4.4 A: Scientific processes: Uses a variety of tools and methods to conduct science inquiry
4.5 A, B: Science Concepts: Parts Removed from Complex Systems
4.8 A, B: Science Concepts: Adaptations Increase Survival
4.2 A: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning: Fractions
4.4 D: Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning. Multiplication and Division
4.11 A: Measurement. Length, capacity/volume and weight/mass.

Discussion Questions

  • What is the theme of this month's issue?
  • In this article, what does the term invasive mean?
  • What makes a plant or animal invasive?
  • Explain the picture at the bottom of page 50. (trees with straws)
  • Name at least two invasive plants and two invasive animals.
  • How are invasive plants and animals a threat to habitat?
  • How do invasives get to Texas?
  • How can people help prevent the spread of invasives?
  • What are at least three benefits of native plants?


Learn about invasives in your community.
Is it native or a harmful invasive? The Texas Invasives web site has a plant database and map to help you identify plants of concern. Reference the Texas regions pages for teachers to learn about native species.
Nab the Aquatic Invader
Students can try this online activity from the Sea Grant program. Have students click on the detective images at the top and "Meet the Suspects." "Book 'em" is the culminating quiz. The "Background Check" folder may be best for more advance readers. Instead, try directing you students to "Kids' Secret headquarters" which has images and fact sheets on species which will prepare the students for the "Book 'em" quizzes. (
Suggestions from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:
  • Become a citizen scientist and track invasive species in your community. Complete the online training at and help document invasives across the state.
  • Use the resources and presentations at to introduce the concept of invasive species to your students.
  • Have students track and identify invasive plants on campus. Could your class remove the invader and replace it with a native species? Find information about native Texas plants at
  • Have students create "Wanted" Posters of invasive species in your area. Posters can be displayed in the classroom and distributed to parents, teachers and other students.
Aquatic Invaders
Also from Sea Grant, this is a musical chairs game that illustrates how an invasive species takes over a habitat.
Web of Life
This game illustrates what happens when zebra mussels invade a river habitat. Best played outdoors or in a large area, students take on roles of various species and vie for survival.
Make a Difference!
How are people making a difference? Read "How You Can Help" and watch these videos and see what actions people are taking to stop the spread of invasives. Do any of these apply to your community?
TPWD's YouTube Channel
When Plants Attack
"Giant Salvinia channel.
Invasive Apple Snails near Houston
Field Notes - Giant Salvinia Cleanup at Lake Sam Rayburn
In the News
For more advanced readers/learners, compare these news stories on the invasive Giant salvinia in Texas:
Ask students: How are the stories the same? How are they different? How do the articles make you feel? Do you think the articles are news or opinion? Why?


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