Through an engaging and humorous comic strip, students will learn about biology, ecology, how invasive species are special, and the importance of learning from one’s actions. Renowned cartoonist and writer Jan Eliot devoted 16 episodes of her “Stone Soup” syndicated comic strip to the story of a young girl, Alix, who releases her pet crayfish, Pinchy, into a stream near her home. Later, through a school activity, Alix learns that her crayfish is considered nonnative—or invasive—and that there are unintended consequences of releasing an invasive species. Through reading the comic strip, students learn some of the biology and ecology of invasive species and discover how humans can be both the cause of and the solution to environmental problems. Using graphic organizers, students will describe what impacts invasive species can have on the environment. After learning about biology through the lens of invasive species, students will then expand their knowledge through a group discussion on how invasive species are spread, and then discuss the role of humans as causes of and possible solutions to problems. Finally, students will have a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of biology through invasive species and demonstrate writing skills and creativity by creating their own comic strips. An alternative assessment is available if creating a comic strip is not possible.
Available free online: Stone Soup for Teachers
Companion publication: Stone Soup for Students