Creating an Experimental Design

Invasive non-native species are causing billions of dollars of damage to the environment each year, choking out native species and permanently altering the natural landscape. In this project, students create an experimental design which could lead to an understanding of how invasive species take over the habitat of native species and how growth of invasive plants can be controlled.

For more about Special #2 from
Pay Attention to our Earth! e-mail
Gabriell DeBear Paye , author
and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Gather scientific information through observation and lab and field experimentation, questions and interviews, and library research
  • Classroom Activities
    Students read background material and follow a Guide to design individual control experiments comparing the growth of a non-native invasive species to a native plant. Noting observations and steps in a journal, they imagine they are ecologists or ecological restoration specialists trying

    to stop the spread of an invasive plant and to protect the native one. This helps young scientists better understand each species' growth, and may lead to designing workable practices for controlling the spread of invasive plants.
    Community Activities
    Students create attractive posters or research papers outlining results. They display and share them with the class, at a science fair, a local newspaper, and/or students in other schools.
    Students identify and explore the role of an Ecological Restoration Specialist who works towards replanting and repairing damaged land so it can be restored to a healthy ecosystem.
    Invasive Plants edited by John Randall and Janet Marinelli, 1996: Brooklyn Botanical Garden; pots, trays, soil, seeds or cuttings of an invasive and a native plant, labels, water, trowels, sunny spot to grow plants, materials for data recording, art supplies, poster boards
    Students research this ecological problem on the Internet. Using a computer with graphing software, students graph data and word processing software for an attractive final poster or research paper.
    Upon completing experiments, students and teacher use a rubric for evaluating criteria met for quality of task completion and comprehension of their invasive plant study.

    Web Sites
    Students access valuable information on invasive plants at: and