How to Use WEED WACKERS
Ideally the units and lessons in WEED WACKERS should be taught in sequence, building layers of information to the final lesson. However, teachers may also easily pick and choose lessons to use in their classrooms as time allows.

Lessons are adaptable to a variety of grade levels. If you are teaching older students and feel they need more foundational information, adapt lessons designed for younger students to your classroom. Many lessons are also adaptable to 7th and 8th grade classrooms.


Because teachers are often constrained by time, the need to teach other disciplines, and the need to meet mandated education standards, all WEED WACKERS lessons are designed to fit current Alaska State Science Standards, and to offer a cross-curricular, integrated approach to teaching about invasive plants. Combine regularly scheduled curriculum require-ments with the topic of invasive plants in Alaska. For example, teach SC1 requirements by having students investigate adaptations invasive plants use to thrive in Alaskan environments. WEED WACKERS lessons approach the topic of invasive plants not only through scientific inquiry, but through the integration of math, technology, language arts, social studies, art, and civics into a variety of lessons.


We are also aware of the diversity of students in Alaskan classrooms, and hope to provide opportunities in our lessons for students with varied learning styles and multiple intelligences by diversifying instruction with writing, art, dramatization,
songs, games, hands-on activities, and cooperative learning techniques.

About the Lessons

All lessons in WEED WACKERS are written in an inquiry style according to the Alaska Science Consortium Learning Cycle Model. The model can be applied to both lessons where students learn from primary and secondary resources, or in lessons where students learn from their own observations and experiments. Figure 1 illustrates the Alaska Learning Cycle Model and describes the steps involved in the process. For more information on how to use the Alaska Science Consortium Learning Cycle Model in your classroom visit http://www.akscience.org/lcm.html .

Lesson Sections

Each lesson includes the following sections:

Grade Level: Lists the grade level for which the lesson is suitable. Many lessons are adaptable to other grade levels.

Alaska State Science Standards: Lists the Alaska state science standards addressed by the lesson. Standards are listed with the standard number first. The grade level expectation is listed after the decimal point, and the grade level is listed within the brackets. No science standards exist in the State of Alaska for grades K-2, so these grade levels are not indicated in this section. National Science Standards for early primary do exist, however, and are quite similar to the objectives outlined for the older grade levels in the Alaska State Science Standards.

Subject:
Lists one or more subjects that the lesson addresses, such as science, math, or language arts.

Target Skills: Lists the specific process skills of science that are addressed by the lesson. These skills are defined by the Alaska Science Consortium and are listed in Table 1.

Duration: Indicates the approximate time needed for each lesson, and the number of recommended class sessions. This recommendation can easily be adapted to the available time in your classroom.

Setting: Describes the setting for the lesson. Settings include classroom, schoolyard, open space (such as the playground or gymnasium), and field study sites.

Vocabulary: Lists vocabulary words and key concepts associated with the lesson. Depending on the ability of your students,
all vocabulary words many not be suitable for use during instruction.

Instructional Goal: Defines the concepts that students will understand by completing the lesson.

Performance Objectives: Provides an explanation of the specific performance expectations for the lesson. These are observable student behaviors, actions or products that demonstrate student mastery of the instructional goal.

Materials: Lists supplies needed to complete the lesson. Many of the materials needed for the lessons are included at the end of the lesson in the worksheets or can be found in the WEED WACKERS teaching materials kits that accompany this guide.

Teacher Background:
Provides back-ground material for the teacher to prepare for the lesson. Some of the background material is complex, and is for the teacher benefit only. However, much of the material can be adapted and shared with students through discussion.

Advanced Preparation: Provides infor-mation on steps the teacher must complete to prepare the lesson.

Procedure: Describes the steps of the activity with ideas for each phase of the Alaska Science Consortium Learning Cycle Model.

Evaluation: Provides suggestions for assessing student learning and allowing students to apply concepts learned in the lesson.

Extensions: Includes additional ideas for further activities, or continuations of the activity in the lesson.

References: Lists references for teacher background material, classroom gear-up reading, websites, and publications used in each lesson. Several of the books and publications listed in this section are available in the WEED WACKERS teaching materials kits that accompany this guide.

Worksheets: These pages are designed for students to complete activities or experiments with. They include activity journals, activity worksheets, cards for games, and experiment observation notebooks for the teacher to copy and hand out to students. They can serve as evaluation tools for activities and help guide students through the inquiry process. Some lessons have two sets of worksheets for different literacy levels: emergent readers (Grades K-2) and proficient readers (Grades 3-6).

Collect seeds and plants to use in lessons!

Several lessons in Unit 2 call for invasive and native plant seeds to conduct experiments. The lessons “Weed Seed Germination,” “Weed Seeds and Alaska’s Changing Climate,” and “The Great Plant Contest: A Competition Experiement,” all require both invasive plant seeds and seeds from a native plant in the same family as the invasive. Please see these lessons for details and ideas for species to collect from. The lesson “Invasive Plants and Disturbance: Classroom Experiment” requires seeds from one invasive plant species. The first weeks of school in the fall are the perfect time to collect seeds. Make sure to collect only mature seeds. In general, mature seeds are not green and moist. Store seeds in a paper bag or envelope (not a plastic bag!) in a cool dry place until you are ready to conduct your experiments.
The Unit 1 lessons “Native or Non-Native” and “Invader Weapons: Roots, Leaves, Flowers and Seeds” require the use of pressed native and non-native plant specimens. You can have your students collect their own plants in the spring, summer, or fall. Press the plants and you can use them at any time during the year. Refer to the lesson “Native or Non-Native” for instructions on pressing plants. If plants are not available, pressed native and non-native plant specimens are available in the WEED WACKERS teaching materials kits that accompany this guide.