This curriculum is designed for teachers who want to integrate the topic of invasive weeds in the classroom, develop weed awareness, and provide students in grades K to 12 with an understanding of the serious problem of invasive weeds. Invasive weeds are a problem that affects all communities, regardless of whether invasive weeds exist in your community. Invasive weeds are the single most serious threat to biodiversity that our country faces today. As invasive weeds out-compete native plants, wildlife habitat is destroyed and degraded, soil erodes, and the aesthetic value of land decreases. Invasive weeds are also an economic burden, costing landowners and government agencies billions of dollars annually to control weeds and in the loss of crops and forage.
Students need to understand invasive plant issues within their community, be aware of the environment’s level of health, and recognize factors that influence the environment’s health. This knowledge will allow students to make informed decisions regarding development, pollution, land management, and other factors that affect the quality ofour life and our environment.
Teachers are often constrained by time, the need to introduce other curricular topics, and limited resources. All of the lessons in this curriculum fit within existing mandated National Science Education Standards (NSES). Many of the activities integrate social studies, art, language arts, and math components. Combine the regularly scheduled curriculum with the topic of invasive weeds. For example, teach the topic of classification in the context of invasive plant species to satisfy the regularly scheduled curriculum, while introducing the problem of invasive weeds.