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Table of Contents
An interdisciplinary case study focused on zebra mussels and designed to educate students about the potential dangers of invading exotic species and the importance of preserving native ecosystems.
This program is an interdisciplinary case study to educate students about the potential dangers of invading exotic species and the importance of preserving native ecosystems. The program was developed based on a cooperative group learning model. The Rivers Project began in 1990 as a pilot program involving eight high schools along the Mississippi and lower Illinois River, and has since been expanded to include formal curriculum in biology, chemistry, earth science, geography, and language arts for use with any river. This unit of the Rivers Project is heavy in content, and introduces students to exotic species in general, and the zebra mussel in more detail. The case study is organized into four levels. Foundations introduces student to continental drift, ecosystems, examples of exotic species, and the Great Lakes. Issue Awareness examines the zebra mussel life cycle in detail, control methods, and preventative measures. Student Activities provides classroom exercises related to the zebra mussel invasion, including a role-play simulation which examines the effects of mussels on a community. Finally, Issue Investigation allows students to examine the issue locally through a survey instrument they develop and implement. Students then plan and carry out community-based actions related to informing their local community about the threat of zebra mussels. Activities are designed to have the students work in cooperative groups to: map the spread of zebra mussels in Europe, the Great Lakes, and river systems in the United States; simulate a town meeting to devise a plan to combat the zebra mussel menace; and use diagrammatic webs to trace various effects of zebra mussels on the ecosystem. The teacher section summarizes learner objectives, provides information about cooperative learning, answer keys for the pre- and post tests, and overhead masters.
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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.