So many fantastic plants and animals call the Great Lakes their HOMES. In this lesson, you’ll learn the difference between native and invasive species. You’ll learn how invasive species came to the Great Lakes. And you’ll find out what invasive species do to food webs. Then you’ll take a fun quiz to see some examples of native and invasive species.
This activity will take between 30 minutes and an hour.
- Optional: craft supplies
Ready? Head to the Classroom!
Watch the video below to learn about native and invasive species.
Share the Learning
Ask your kids: Which Great Lakes plants and animals have we seen at a Great Lake or around our home? Do you think they are native – have they always lived near the Great Lakes? Invasive species were brought to the Great Lakes, many by accident. How are invasive species harmful?
Complete the Great Lakes Creatures Quiz to learn more about some native species that live in the Great Lakes and some invasive species that pose threats to this important ecosystem.
Choose a Great Lakes creature to draw, color or create. With adult permission, create it using modeling clay, paint it on your window, or chalk it on the sidewalk. Write the creature’s name and one thing that makes that species unique or special. If you need ideas for a creature to choose, check out our Great Lakes Creature Cards.
Parents: Take a photo of the creature creation and share it on social media. Tag us in your creation, and we may share it with others!
Want to learn more? Check out these resources!
- Learn more about the Lake Sturgeon, a native Great Lakes fish that’s been around since the time of the dinosaurs:
- The Shedd Aquarium’s “At Home on the Great Lakes” exhibit includes a lake sturgeon touch tank.
- The Grand Rapids Public Museum is live-streaming a tank with two 10-month-old lake sturgeon.
- “Nab the Aquatic Invaders! Be a Sea Grant Super Sleuth” lets you check out some invasive species that cause real problems in the Great Lakes. This interactive website is from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Sea Grant (Grades 4 and Up).
- Learn about more invasive species in the Great Lakes:
- See Michigan Sea Grant’s photo album of aquatic invasive species.
- The Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS) has a poster of invasive species in the Great Lakes.
- The Shedd Aquarium’s “At Home on the Great Lakes” exhibit includes a sea lamprey tank and a few Asian carp.
- Use your research on invasive species to complete these Great Lakes in My World lesson plans:
Find more Great Lakes lessons at H.O.M.E.School.