Invasive Species: Project Based Learning Task MS-LS2-4 MS-LS2-5

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165 Ratings
Grade Levels
6th - 9th, Homeschool
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What educators are saying

A fantastic project to wrap up my lesson on invasive species - my students were so proud of their work and it was very engaging. Thank you!
My students are doing some awesome research and the posters they made were way fun! We didn’t use the community action plan component
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Explore ecology concepts through the context of invasive species in this engaging project-based learning assessment. Students should already have an understanding of ecosystem structure and ecological relationships, and they should have been introduced to the idea of changes in ecosystems. This assessment is completely aligned to NGSS MS-LS2-4 and MS-LS2-5, but it can also be adapted for the high school level.

In this activity, students research an invasive species, exploring how it has disrupted the ecosystem and affected native populations. They will create a WANTED poster to present their findings, and then they will work in teams to develop a Community Action Plan to halt the spread of the species and/or reduce the population levels of the invasive species in their region. Student groups can present their plans in any way you choose, and then students will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each plan in light of the constraints identified at the beginning of the activity. Both parts of the project are fully aligned to the NGSS and related Evidence Statements for NGSS MS-LS2-4 and MS-LS2-5.

Learning Targets:

  • Students will construct an argument supported by evidence to explain how the introduction of an invasive species affected biodiversity in an ecosystem.
  • Students will evaluate competing solutions to address the problem of the invasive species in the ecosystem.

This lesson includes:

  • 17 student pages
  • detailed teacher lesson guide
  • teacher rubrics (research project + action plan)
  • student reflection rubric (research project)

How can this lesson be used?

  • to assess student understanding of ecology concepts
  • to guide learning through a unit in a student-driven storyline (starting with introducing the phenomenon, assigning the task of the Wanted Poster Project, and ending the unit with the Community Action Plan Project)
  • independent extension projects

How much class time will this take?

  • This activity is designed to be completed in 2-3 60-minute class periods, assuming students already have developed an understanding of ecosystems and their dynamics. Students can likely complete the research and poster within 1-2 class periods. The Community Action Plan will likely take another class period. Additional time may be needed for presentations and evaluating competing design solutions.  

Is this NGSS-aligned?

This resource is part of a storyline designed to work toward the tagged Next Generation Science Standards. Because Performance Expectations are designed to assess learning by the end of the grade band, unit material may not fully assess every Performance Expectation tagged in the post.

Explore the Invasive Species bundle here or access through the Spark Subscription. This resource also ties to the Pollinators & Plants storyline framework.

This activity works toward student mastery of the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and/or Crosscutting Concepts in the tagged Performance Expectations.

This activity engages students in the following Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

This activity encourages students to think about the following Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Systems and System Models
  • Change and Stability

Prior Knowledge:

Students should already have an understanding of ecosystem structure and ecological relationships, and they should have been introduced to the idea of changes in ecosystems. 

Can I see an example of how you structure your lessons and student materials?

Download my Let's Talk Trash Anchor Phenomenon freebie HERE</a>!

What if I have questions?

You can email me at with questions about resources or implementation. I'm happy to help!

Check Out These Related Resources

This activity bundle is part of a complete unit storyline that works towards these standards:

  • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

What Other Teachers Are Saying:

⭐️“This is fantastic!!! The students loved it! The research page was a great graphic organizer for my students to record their findings. They were really engaged the whole way through from research to poster making. Thank you!”

⭐️“This translated well to distance learning. I had students create a slideshow rather than a poster on their invasive species. We had a class discussion about the individual community action plans during a live meet. They were engaged and enjoyed the challenge of creating the CAP. Thank you!”

Terms Of Use:

Copyright © 2018, 2022 iExploreScience LLC. All pages of this product are copyrighted, and all rights are reserved by the author. You may not create anything to sell or share based on this packet. The product is created for the use of ONE teacher. Please do not share with colleagues. If they like the product, please send them to my TpT store. I appreciate your support with this request! You are permitted to share ONLY the cover image of this product on your blog or via social media as long as you link back to my product on TpT. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

*Note: NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.

Total Pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. Examples of ecosystem services could include water purification, nutrient recycling, and prevention of soil erosion. Examples of design solution constraints could include scientific, economic, and social considerations.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations. Emphasis is on recognizing patterns in data and making warranted inferences about changes in populations, and on evaluating empirical evidence supporting arguments about changes to ecosystems.


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