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Curricular Materials

Purple Loosestrife Project - Upper Elementary free sample lesson
Grade level: 4-6Date: 1999 Program cost: Free
Subjects: science, math, social studies, language arts
Publisher: Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension
Correlated to education standards? Yes
Ordering Information
Table of Contents

This elementary version of the Purple Loosestrife Project focuses on raising beetles as a biological control agent for purple loosestrife. It provides enough background information and activities to be an introductory study in botany, ecology and insect life cycles.

The elementary version of the PLP program focuses on raising Galerucella beetles as a biological control agent for purple loosestrife. However, along the way it provides enough background information and activities to be an introductory study in botany, ecology, and insect life cycles. First, students become extraterrestrial scientists learning about life on earth: biomes, ecosystems, community relationships and food chains. They then become reporters digging for news about an alien invasion, linking what they know to a 7-foot, purple invader. During the investigation, students learn about the parts and life cycle of what they later discover is purple loosestrife. Afterwards they examine control methods for the plant, in particular biological control, as they raise and observe the beetles on a loosestrife plant. The Teacherís Guide provides state standards, main ideas and concepts, a significant amount of background information, lesson abstracts, tips, teacher instructions and extension ideas. The Student Workbook provides information, illustrations and worksheets. The program is extremely well organized and sequenced, excellent for both students with limited background in biology, and teachers without much environmental background. While there are some activities including observation of the interaction between the beetle life stages and the plant, much of the learning comes from reading and completing workbook sections. Most of the work is completed in-class, with a few assignments or extensions in the schoolyard or neighborhood. While students are aware that the beetles will be released in a wetland to control loosestrife, no trips are planned to the wetland in question. It references The Cooperators Handbook, and we recommend purchase of this handbook as a companion resource.

Issue 1: HabitatKey Characteristic 1: Accuracy
Issue 2: PollutionKey Characteristic 2: Depth
Issue 3: InvasivesKey Characteristic 3: Skills
Issue 4: EcosystemKey Characteristic 4: Action
Issue 5: BiodiversityKey Characteristic 5: Soundness
Issue 6: Build Fisheries - Key Characteristic 6: Usability
Issue 7: Treaty Rights -
Assessment of Coverage:
- none or N/A
moderately good
Issue 8: Manage Fisheries -
Issue 9: Stewardship -
Issue 10: Fishing -
Issue 11: Careers -

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Disclaimer: The reviews of this and the other Great Lakes Fisheries education materials were conducted by a single independent reviewer. The views of this reviewer do not necessarily reflect the views of GLIN, the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, or the University of Michigan.