We think everyone can learn about invasive non-native (Alien) species so we’ve put together an educational resource – ‘Alien Detectives’. It is full of exciting, challenging and fun activities for the young - and not so young!
You'll find presentations, activities, worksheets, quizzes, crafts, puzzles and games, all themed around invasive alien species and the river environment which can all be downloaded and shared. There is an introductory presentation to start you off and all activities have notes and answer sheets to help you along – so you don’t need any prior knowledge to use and enjoy them. The activities can be done in groups e.g. a school class but many can be completed individually at home or in the outdoors
When you’ve learned about invasive non-native species your teacher, group leader, mum, dad or carer can award you ‘Alien Detective’ status and you can download your hard earned Alien Detectives certificate. Or you could award it to yourself!
The activities are mostly, but not all, aimed at primary school students, but we think anyone with an interest in invasive species will enjoy and learn from them too! Several of these activities could also be used if you are working towards your John Muir Award, to help you explore and conserve your wild space.
The Alien Detectives resource is presented over seven sections, most is on this page, but there are a couple of other places to visit too:
- The Alien Detectives activities (Sections 1-5, below)
- River and Outdoor activities (Section 6)
- Activities, games and puzzles (Section 7)
- Additional Information (Links for background material and images, curriculum links and links for people how may be able to help you deliver some of the activities in a group or school setting).
You are welcome to copy and share these resources for personal and educational use. All content is ©Scottish Invasive Species Initiative.
Section 1 : Discovering Aliens
1.1 An introduction to Alien species
What is an alien species? What does invasive mean?
Download the powerpoint presentation, just press play and let us introduce the concepts of "aliens", "non-native" and "invasive species" and look at some examples of aliens. (Indoor)
1.5 Endangered species game
A great game for introducing the concept of conservation, looking at what threats - like invasive species - are effecting our native and endangered species. (Group, hall or outdoor)
Section 2 : Alien Landings
In this session you'll think about how the aliens have travelled and landed!
2.2 Alien landings
How and why did they get here?
This is a active game to learn about the methods of non-native species introductions, but could easily be adapted to do as an individual quiz. (Group, hall or outdoor)
Session 3 : The Alien Invasion
What makes a successful alien? These activities will help you explore what makes something "invasive", what are typical invasive characteristics and traits.
3.2 Design your own alien species
Get creative and thinking about those invasive characteristics design your own invasive species. What is it called? where did it come from? (Indoor)
3.4 Impact of Mink
A tag style game to illustrate the impact of a non-native invasive animal - the American mink - on native species (the water vole in this example). (Group)
Section 4 : Prevent the Alien take over
Find out what we can all do to help prevent, slow or stop the alien invasion.
4.1 Biosecurity basics
A great introduction to "Biosecurity" - have a look at our river scene and match up the biosecurity actions and species. (Indoor)
4.4 Design a biosecurity poster
You can help spread the word about this important topic by designing your own poster to help raise awareness about biosecurity actions that people should be taking. (Indoor)
Section 5. Capture some Aliens!
Practical outdoor things you can do to help find and remove the Aliens
5.2 Remove some Himalayan balsam
Time to get active, pull up some Himalayan balsam and make a difference in your local environment. Don't worry if you don't know where to find any - there's lots of help and advice in the notes. (Outdoor)
5.3 Monitor a mink raft
Get your group actively involved in monitoring for American mink by adopting a mink raft. There are likely to be organisations locally who can lend you one and help set it up. Or if you are really keen you can make your own. (Outdoor)
5.4 Set up a footprint trap
Similar to monitoring a mink raft, you can make a simple footprint trap to try and find some animal footprints in the woods, garden or school grounds. (Outdoor)
Section 6. Explore your local countryside and river
So many things to do outside!
River Dipping, Tracks and Signs, Wildlife recording, Pooh sticks...
We've got lots more activities to help you discover your local river or countryside, so many, we've put them on another page!
As you'll have discovered through learning about invasive non-native species, their biggest impact is on the environment and our wildlife, so to help put that in context all these fun activities will help you discover more about your local river and countryside.
Section 7. Activities, Games and puzzles
Want a challenge? These invasive species themed puzzles, games and crafts are great to reinforce some of the things you've learnt about aliens.
Make, play and solve..
We've got loads more invasive species themed activities for you to do which will help reinforce your learning so far and help you discover more about aliens in some fun ways. There are things to make, games to play with a friend and puzzles to solve. We've listed them all on their own page.
Invasive species battleships - Crossword puzzles - Wordsearches - Mask templates -
Animal tracks quiz - Pictograms - Make an exploding seed pod - Pathfinder
Top trump cards - Native seed paper - Group running games
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