Dig Deeper! 5 Additional Resources for the February Paired Texts

By Lauren Salisbury
January 15, 2019


We can’t wait for your students to dive into the paired texts in the February 2019 issue of Scope "The Fish That's Eating the World" and "Invasion of the Giant Goldfish." These two nonfiction texts explore two different invasive aquatic species: lionfish and goldfish. Both texts discuss the causes and effects of each invasion, as well as possible solutions. After reading both articles, check out the resources below to keep the learning going.

Essential Questions:
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources:

  • How do ecosystems become unbalanced?
  • What responsibility do humans have to protect and restore ecosystems?
  • How are environmental problems solved?


5 resources to keep the learning going:

Watch a video about endangered coral reefs.

As a class, watch this episode (00:26:47) of the powerful PBS series Saving the Ocean to swim with marine biologist Carl Safina through the vibrant coral reefs now threatened by lionfish. You will journey to reefs that are in trouble, but also meet inspiring people working to solve problems—fishermen from local co-ops, competitors in lionfish derbies, and chefs from restaurants reinventing their menus.

To Discuss: What human activities are affecting coral reefs? What will happen if we do nothing to help repair coral reefs? What are can be done to contain lionfish populations and help coral reefs thrive once again?

Scourge of the Lionfish

Read an article about a robot that can help control lionfish populations.

This article is about the Guardian LF1, a prototype robot from the Robots in Service of the Environment foundation (RSE) that zaps and vacuums lionfish from coral reefs—and is piloted by a Playstation controller.

To Discuss: How did the RSE team take their idea from paper to practice? What challenges did they face? How did they make their prototype more humane? Do you think it's right to use this method to control lionfish populations?


Explore an infographic about the lionfish invasion.

This dazzling infographic contains an animated map of reported lionfish sightings from 1985-2015 and a photo gallery about what researchers find when they look inside a lionfish.

To Discuss: How does this format affect your understanding of the lionfish problem? What ideas does it offer about how you can help?

Tip! This is a great model for students who choose to research another invasive species and create an infographic that shows the impact that species can have on an ecosystem.


Explore a website that helps raise awareness.

Check out the 11th Hour Racing website to learn how this organization is raising awareness about the global issue of invasive species. Check out the incredible infographics, short film (15:55), lionfish facts, and an overview of the #EatLionfish Chef Throwdown.

To Discuss: What is the difference between conservation and restoration? How are different communities coming together to tackle the lionfish crisis in Bermuda?  

Lionfish: From Predator to Plate

Read a book about creative solutions for other invasive species.

Check out Science Warriors: The Battle Against Invasive Species by Sneed B. Collard III. This book is made just for middle school readers and introduces students to some of the most brilliant minds and promising advances in the battle against invasive species in the United States.

To Discuss: What must scientists know to effectively combat an invader? How can we slow or stop the spread of invasive species?

Here are 4 culminating activities to choose from:

  • An aquarium has hired you to help educate the public about what to do with a pet fish that can no longer be cared for. Make a short video or poster on this topic. Be sure to include why it’s important not to release pet fish into the wild.
  • Write a letter to local restaurants explaining why they should add lionfish to the menu.
  • Choose one of the other invasive species mentioned in the article and research the damage it causes and the solutions being explored. Present your findings in the form of an essay, video, infographic, or slideshow.
  • Research an invasive species of your choosing and create an infographic that shows the impact that the invasive species can have on an ecosystem.