Invasive Plants of Alaska

A Lesson Plan for Gardening the Classroom in Alaska, by Heidi Doudna, an Alaska Master Gardener

Goal and outcomes:

Students will be able to list at least 6 noxious weeds commonly found in Interior Alaska
Students will identify and collect sample edible noxious weeds
Students will demonstrate recognition by creating booklets and matching samples found

Subject Area: Science
Grade Levels: 4-6
Ideal season for lesson: Summer
Time to complete lesson: 1 hour
Materials Required:
Invasive Plants Profiles
Don’t Plant a Problem
Fairbanks Invasive Weed Rack Cards
Pencil on strings attached
to clipboard
Checklist of weeds found-
space to record location
Ziploc bags for collecting

What kind of weeds are these? Photo by Heidi Rader.

A Step by Step guide to teaching your lesson:

Pre-lesson: Walk local area to note location of noxious weeds.  Check with parents for allergy information. Meet outdoors, kids seated on grass- have samples of noxious weeds on tray. Review the beneficial, edible plants previously discussed and tell them they are now going to identify the “bad guys.” Emphasize that the plants they are looking
for today are not edible. Describe how we will walk together, slowly, so that we can identify various noxious weeds together. Download and print Selected Invasive Plants of Alaska and hand it out to each student. Highlight main difference between common and noxious weeds in introductory paragraph & discuss. Remind students not to put anything into their mouths, to check what they find with you, and to place any samples collected carefully into bags so
as to avoid spreading the seeds anywhere else. Take nature walk, making sure students notice noxious weeds as you go along, and collect samples. Return to yard and, keeping weeds in bags, discuss what they found, and what to do if
they find any of these weeds elsewhere. Have students make booklets from Fairbanks Invasive Weed Rack Cards, and make them into a stapled booklet with a titled cover. Have students take booklets home to their families. Report where, what, and when you saw the weed.


Fairbanks Invasive Weed Rack Cards
K-12 Science Teaching Projects for Invasive Species in Alaska
Purchase Discovering Wild Plants: Alaska, Western Canada, The Northwest by Janice Schofield Eaton
Take the Invasive Plants of Alaska for Educators Course taught by Katie Spellman

About Heidi Rader

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