Invasive Plants & Water Quality
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Grade: 11th Grade
Class: Regents Chemistry
Author: Jeanine Bieber
NYS Content Area Standard:
Math, Science & Technology:
Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Natural History
Keywords: invasive species, milfoil
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: How do invasive plant species such as Eurasian Milfoil affect lake water quality with respect to pH, oxygen level, and N and P levels?

While this challenge was written about Lake Luzerne, it could be modified and used with any Adirondack body of water.

The Challenge:

With the help of your teacher, arrange yourselves into well balanced teams of three. This challenge will be organized into three parts. Each part will have at least one Product Quality Checklist (PQC).

Part I: Background Information

We have discussed the terms biodiversity and invasive species together and also applied these terms specifically to Lake Luzerne and the concern with Milfoil proliferation. Now, your group has the responsibility of becoming experts on Eurasian Milfoil. Using the resources provided, each of you will collect information to answer specific questions. Then, you will use one class period to teach each other the information. During a second class period, I will verbally test individual group members any aspect of the information studied. Each of you will receive an individual test grade on Part I (see PQC Part I.) The questions you must research are organized below: 

Group Member #1:

1. Give a description of Eurasian Milfoil and explain differences between this and native milfoil species.

2. Describe the optimum growth conditions for milfoil and growth patterns.

Group Member #2:

1. What is the origin of Eurasian Milfoil?

2. When was it introduced? 3. How is it spread?

Group Member #3:

1. What problems are associated with Eurasian Milfoil proliferation?

2. How might these affect Lake Luzerne, specifically?

Part II: Experimenting with Eurasian Milfoil (this part may have to be adjusted based on the ability to grow milfoil in the classroom)

Based on the information you have learned about Eurasian Milfoil, as a group, develop a hypothesis relating the presence of Milfoil to lake levels of oxygen, pH, nitrogen and phosporous. You will then be measuring these levels using scientific instrumentation in a mock lake setting created in our lab.

This data will be collected 2 times a week for three weeks. Each individual is responsible for their own lab write-up in their laboratory notebook. (This lab will count as three credits.)

Part III: Public Education is the Key! Your last piece of the challenge is to develop an educational message about Eurasian Milfoil in Lake Luzerne. Your message must include the following information:

1. What is Eurasian Milfoil?

2. How is it spread?

3. Why do we care? (What problems are caused by Milfoil infestation)

4. What can the public do to prevent spreading?

5. Agencies to contact for additional information.

(Ideas: video commercial, radio announcement, signage, pamphlets, other creative ideas)

Project supported in part by the New York State Museum Biodiversity Research Institute

Quality Standards:

Part I: Each student must earn a grade of 70 or above on the verbal test in orderto continue to Part II. Any student earning a grade below 70 will be retested independently at a designated time after school.

Part II:

a. Each group must demonstrate working knowledge of the instrumentation to measure pH, oxygen, nitrogen and phosporous levels.

b. The laboratory write-up must be in your lab notebook and must be organized as follows:

1. Introduction - general information about Eurasian Milfoil and the problem in Lake Luzerne which relates to why we are doing this experiment.

2. Hypothesis

3. Experimental Procedure - illustrate and describe set-up. Identify control and experimental parts. List equipment needed. Describe testing plan. Include any safety issues.

4. Data - neatly displayed and clearly labelled.

5. Conclusions - explain data collected. Relate our experiment to concerns with Lake Luzerne. What problems can changes in oxygen, pH, nitrogen and phosphorous in our lake water create? How could we change or improve this experiment?

Part III: The public education piece must:

-be 30 seconds or less for a video or radio ad.

- include accurate and complete information (refer to the challenge outline!)

-take into consideration your target audience.

-be easy to read, understand and hear.

-be specific to Lake Luzerne.

-be handed in two weeks after the lab write up is due

Product Quality Checklist
Print This Checklist
Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

Verbal Test on Eurasian Milfoil Background Info (Will count as 1 test grade)


- demonstrate proficiency in using instrumentation

- laboratory report includes: introduction

  • hypothesis      
  •  procedure
  • data
  • conclusion

(Counts for a lab grade and for 3 lab credits.)


Product (Counts for a class grade):

  • Completed 2 weeks from lab due date.


  • Take into consideration target audience.
  • Information is accurate and complete.
  • Easy to read, understand and hear.
  • 30 sec or less for video or radio ad.
  • Specific to Lake Luzerne

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