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.

Time/Materials

This activity will take between 30 minutes and an hour.

You’ll need:

  • Computer
  • 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?

Activity

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.

Extra Credit

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!

Deep Dive

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:
  • “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:
  • Use your research on invasive species to complete these Great Lakes in My World lesson plans:
    • Students research and present findings on Invasive Issues, then research and write about possible solutions (Grades 6 and Up).
    • In Food Web Invasion students develop a food web of 10 native species from a Great Lakes coastal habitat and show the impact of 2 invasive species (Grades 7 and Up).

Find more Great Lakes lessons at H.O.M.E.School.