Lionfish: Lesson Plan

Learn about how human activities (including population growth, pollution, global warming, burning of fossil fuels, habitat destruction and introduction of nonnative species) may impact the environment. Then examine how a nonnative species is affecting North Carolina marine ecosystems by viewing the NC Science NOW video "Lionfish."

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • Bio.2.2 
    — Summarize how humans modify ecosystems through population growth, technology, consumption of resources and production of waste.
    — Interpret data regarding the historical and predicted impact on ecosystems and global climate. 
    — Explain factors that impact North Carolina ecosystems. (Examples: acid rain effects in mountains, beach erosion, urban development in  the Piedmont leading to habitat destruction and water runoff, waste lagoons on hog farms, Kudzu as an invasive plant, etc.)

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will investigate different ways in which humans are impacting the environment. 
  • Students will learn how nonnative (invasive) species are affecting North Carolina.

Essential Questions

  1. How is population growth affecting the environment?
  2. How is pollution affecting the environment?
  3. What is global warming and what are its causes?
  4. How does burning fossil fuels affect the environment?
  5. How does habitat destruction affect organisms?
  6. How does the introduction of nonnative (invasive) species affect the environment?

Essential Vocabulary

  • Carrying capacity
  • Population
  • Global warming
  • Deforestation
  • Desertification
  • Urban sprawl
  • Pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Air pollution
  • Photochemical smog
  • Acid precipitation
  • Particulate matter
  • Nonnative (invasive) species

Engage

Students will watch “5 human impacts on the environment” to get an overview of how human activities are impacting the environment.

Explore

Students will work independently to gather information about how human activities are impacting the environment. Students should include the following topics in their research:

  • How is population growth affecting the environment?
  • How is pollution affecting the environment?
  • What is global warming and what are its causes?
  • How does burning fossil fuels affect the environment? 
  • How does habitat destruction affect organisms? 
  • How does the introduction of nonnative (invasive) species affect the environment?

As students conduct their research, they should record the definitions of each essential vocabulary word.

The websites below are some possible places that students can find information. There are many additional websites that students should find during their research. Remind students to check and see if a web page has multiple pages or links to additional pages with information that they need.  

Explain

After exploring information about the impact of human activities on the environment, students will work in small groups to answer the questions above. If needed, students can review the websites above or other websites to clarify any concepts that they do not understand.

Extend

Students will view the NC Science NOW video “Lionfish” to learn how a nonnative (invasive species) called the lionfish is affecting North Carolina’s marine ecosystems. As students watch the video they should answer the following questions.

  1. Why is the lionfish classified as a nonnative (invasive) species?
  2. How is the lionfish affecting North Carolina’s marine ecosystem?
  3. What can be done to reduce the impact of the lionfish?

Evaluate

In the same small group, students will prepare a series of public service announcements that inform the public on how they can reduce the impact on the environment. Each announcement should clearly state the impact of a human activity on the environment and how a specific change in behavior can reduce the impact. Students should choose three of the following topics and prepare a public service announcement for each of the three topics. If possible, students should read their announcements to the class.

  • Population growth
  • Pollution
  • Global warming
  • Burning fossil fuels
  • Habitat destruction
  • Introduction of nonnative (invasive) species