Lesson Plan

5th Grade Virtual Field Trip - Exotic Invaders

a drawn desert tortoise against a cloudy brown background
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
5-LS2-1 - Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Additional Standards:

Essential Question

How might invasive species affect the natural movement of matter in an ecosystem?


Students will identify two invasive species that are affecting the natural movement of matter at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.


Although at first glance the desert may seem to have little in the way of wildlife, it actually contains large, diverse populations. The variety of plant and animal species create an important niche in the desert ecosystem. In the Mojave Desert, plants and animals interact in many different ways. Animals pollinate plants and assist in seed dispersal while plants provide animals with food, water and shelter. Plants and animals depend on each other for survival; when one plant or animal species becomes eliminated from a desert community, other animals that are dependent on that species can be affected.


  • To start, the teacher will give some background to the Mojave Desert and Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There is information included for the teacher in the background information section below or find additional educational resources through Additional Education Resources - Lake Mead National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

  • The students will all receive a copy of the field trip guide, digitally or hard copy,and begin the field trip.

  • If there is limited technology available, the teacher can make this a group field trip instead of an individual one by showing the slide show and connected video.


This presite will allow students to gain an introduction to Lake Mead before taking a virtual field trip.

Download Lake Mead Field Trip Presite Powerpoint

This teacher outline will allow educators to introduce Lake Mead National Recreation Area in advance of a group's virtual visit.

Download Lake Mead Field Trip Presite Outline


1.) Introduce the students to Lake Mead National Recreation Area by using the "Lake Mead Presite" powerpooint.
2.) Utilize the "Who Lives Here" teacher lesson and follow the prompts to open the field trip video.
3.) Open the "Who Lives Here" virtual field trip video.  


  • components - A part or element of; components of the food web are producers and consumers
  • decomposer - an organism that breaks down dead plants and animals. This allows nutrients to go back into the soil to be reused
  • ecosystems - living and nonliving things in their environment, together with their interactions  
  • energy transfer - the movement of energy from one place or object to another   
  • Matter – anything that has mass and occupies space   
  • mechanisms - process by which something takes place or is brought about.                       
  • organisms - any living thing                       
  • species - A group of organisms that can produce offspring like themselves.

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Last updated: August 30, 2021