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Lesson Plans
Battlefield Earth

By Robert Redmon
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Three to four 45 minute  periods


In this lesson, students will explore how humans interact with the environment around them to support the both physically as well as financially. Through the use of video segments from Africa and the Internet, students will research the complications and environmental impact introducing non-native species can have on an ecosystem. Using the Internet, students will do a Web Quest in order to identify other regions of the world that have been damaged due to the introduction of non-native species. Students will create digitized posters that highlight their particular area of research. They will discuss and draw similarities and differences between those regions affected. Finally, the students will select an indigenous species that has been greatly impacted by the introduction of a non-native species and devise a population control method for restoring that species to its natural status in its ecosystem.

Subject Matter

Environmental Science, Agricultural Science, Natural Resource Management, Wildlife Conservation

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze the plight of African fishermen on Lake Victoria and the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of its ecosystem
  • Research invasive or non-native species around the world, particularly those located in Africa and the United States
  • Identify how non-native species have and are affecting their ecosystems and create digitized posters based on the information they have obtained
  • Develop an understanding of how invasive or non-native species can affect a country's habitat and financial stability
  • Research modern day methods for combating invasive or non-native species
  • Create a Web site that identifies the species, its impact on native species, and population controls being used to stabilize those environments affected by their presence
  • Develop a population control method for an indigenous species that has been affected by a non-native species located in their own community in order to repopulate the ecosystem with its original species


National Science Standards

As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and understandings about scientific inquiry.

As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of:
Interdependence of organisms
Matter, energy, and organization in living systems, and
Behavior of organisms

As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop abilities of technological design and an understanding about science and technology.

As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of personal and community health, population growth, natural resources, and environmental quality, natural and human-induced hazards, science and technology in local, national, and global challenges.

As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of science as a human endeavor, nature of scientific knowledge, and historical perspectives.

New Jersey Science Standards

5.1 All students will learn to identify systems of interacting components and understand how their interactions combine to produce the overall behavior of the system.

5.2 All students will develop problem-solving, decision-making and inquiry skills, reflected by formulating usable questions and hypotheses, planning experiments, conducting systematic observations, interpreting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating results.

5.3 All students will develop an understanding of how people of various cultures have contributed to the advancement of science and technology, and how major discoveries and events have advanced science and technology.

5.4 All students will develop an understanding of technology as an application of scientific principles.

5.5 All students will integrate mathematics as a tool for problem solving in science, and as a means of expressing and/or modeling scientific theories.

5.6 All students will gain an understanding of the structure, characteristics, and basic needs of organisms.

5.7 All students will investigate the diversity of life.

5.8 All students will gain an understanding of the structure and behavior of matter.

5.9 All students will gain an understanding of natural laws as they apply to motion, forces, and energy transformations.

5.10 All students will gain an understanding of the structure, dynamics, and geophysical systems of the earth.

5.11 All students will gain an understanding of the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe.

5.12 All students will develop an understanding of the environment as a system of interdependent components affected by human activity and natural phenomena.

Media Components

Africa: Episode 6 "Restless Waters"

Web sites:

Earth Crash

Earth Crash is a unique Web site dedicated to documenting Earth's environmental collapse due to the accumulated impacts of human activity. It contains articles on hundreds of environmental subjects, including the most recent important developments reported by a wide variety of reputable news sources, including the BBC, the Journal of Science, and many more. It is typically updated 3-4 times a week.

Executive Order #13112 of February 3, 1999 – Invasive Species

This Web site, constructed and run by the National Biological Information Infrastructure, deals with all topics related to invasive species, control, federal regulations, and identification of native and non-native species. This portion of the Web site is an electronic reproduction of President Clinton’s Executive Order #13112 in regards to Invasive Species within the United States.

Clinton Seeks Record Budget Increase for Wildlife Conservation

This Web site is an electronic copy of former President Clinton's press release seeking a $250 million increase in the Fiscal Budget for the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to combat non-native species.

The Dirty Dozen

The "Dirty Dozen" is a rogues' gallery representing some of America's least wanted alien species. Although these 12 intruders differ from each other in many ways, all share a common trait – they spell trouble for our native species and ecosystems.

Some Non-indigenous Aquatic Species of Concern

This Web site provides students with additional information in regards to invasive species. The site offers students the opportunity to view 3D models of various non-native invasive species in an electronic format. To view this site you will be required to download a Java Applet that will allow your students to view the 3D Models. The applet is free to download.

Exotic Introductions

This site takes a look at major contributors to the depletion and extinction of native species, due to the introduction of species into new environments. These transplanted forms are called exotics. Species have sometimes invaded new habitats naturally (e.g. when land bridges have become established), but human exploration and colonization has dramatically increased the spread of exotic species. Whenever man has settled far away from home, he has tried to introduce his familiar animals and plants. Many other species (e.g. rats) have been accidentally transported around the world.

Scientific American: Explore! Costly Interlopers

Quietly, insidiously – and often by invitation – the U.S. has been invaded. Since Columbus landed on these shores more than 30,000 species of plants, animals, and microbes have also taken up home here. Many are valuable crops and others are useful plants that humans have carried with them since the migrations of prehistory. Others are pests that have claimed the habitats of native species, forcing many of them to extinction, causing crop damage and human and animal disease.

Environment News: Alien Species Cost U.S. $123 Billion a Year

This site lets students take a look at rats, cats, weeds, zebra mussels, and even sparrows who are just a few of the most damaging species among more than 30,000 non-native species in the United States. All together they are costing the country $123 billion a year in economic losses, Cornell University ecologists estimate.


Per Student

  • Scavenger Hunt Worksheet
  • Alien Invader Web Quest Guide

Per Class
  • Overhead Transparency
  • Transparency Pen
  • Chart Paper (1-2 sheets)
  • Marker

For Game

Per Student

  • 3 different color poker chips (red/blue/white)
  • Armband (all the same color)
Per Class
  • 4 Orange Cones
  • 3 armbands (in a color other than the ones per student)
  • 3 small Nerf balls
  • Whistle (for teacher)