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Galpagos Islanders Aim to
Control Tourism, Mosquitoes


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Life Sciences
--Physical Science
----Earth Science
Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Tourism and mosquitoes are threatening to change the Galpagos landscape forever.

Anticipation Guide

Write the place name Galpagos Islands on a board or chart. If students are unable to point out the location of the Galpagos Islands on a world map, do so for them. The Galpagos are located in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. (Ecuador is a country in South America; it is located between Colombia and Peru.) The Galpagos is a chain of 13 islands (an archipelago) located near the equator.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: tourists, tortoise, unwelcome, sewage, government, and insecticide. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Each winter, thousands of _____ flock to the beaches of Florida. (tourists)
  • Heavy rains caused _____ to leak from the treatment plant into the river. (sewage)
  • The bugs were _____ visitors in my aunts home. (unwelcome)
  • My aunt hired an exterminator to spray natural _____ around the perimeter of her home. (insecticide)
  • Each November, voters go to the polls to choose their _____ leaders. (government)
  • The _____ lumbered along more slowly than any other animal I have ever seen. (tortoise)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Galpagos Islanders Aim to Control Tourism, Mosquitoes.

    Reading the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • In recent years, the tourism industry has added approximately $350 million to the Galpagos economy. That is a very large sum in a struggling country.
  • To support tourism, the local population has grown from a modest 5,000 to 30,000.
  • The southern house mosquito was first spotted in the Galpagos in the mid-1980s, but its presence then was such a rarity that it was not considered a problem. Increasing tourism has led to the introduction of more mosquitoes; and they have been spread throughout the Galpagos chain by island-hopping boats.
  • The southern house mosquito is a carrier of diseases including avian malaria, avian pox, and West Nile fever.
  • Mosquitoes do not usually bite reptiles, such as the giant tortoises that live on the islands of the Galpagos. (More commonly, mosquitoes are known to bite mammals.) But one particular type of mosquito found in the Galpagos has evolved to bite the tortoises there. Scientists fear that an invasion of the southern house mosquito could infect the native mosquitoes, leading to a spread of disease to the tortoises.
  • The government of Ecuador recently introduced a requirement for insecticide spraying on aircraft flying to the Galpagos, but some scientists say the scheme's effectiveness is not being monitored and the rules do not apply to cargo ships.
  • Mosquitoes are not the first species to invade the Galpagos. Over the years, many other species have found their way there. Included among those non-native species that now call the Galpagos home are rats, wild pigs, flies, and a variety of invasive plants.
  • "Our research has shown that everything is in place for a similar disaster to occur in Galpagos as occurred in Hawaii," says scientist Andrew Cunningham. Unless immediate and forceful mitigating actions are taken, it is only a matter of time before Galpagos wildlife meet the same fate as the Hawaiian [birds]."
  • Last year, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organziation) put the Galpagos on its list of Heritage Sites in Danger in order to raise awareness about the need for conservation and protection of its rare ecology.

    Use the News

    Print out this weeks Use the News printable activity page for students. Or use the questions on that page to check student comprehension.

    Use the News: Answer Key
    Comprehension Check. 1.F (the islands get their name from the Spanish word for turtle); 2.F (the islands are home to about 3,000 tortoises); 3.T; 4.T; 5.F (the mosquitoes caused the death of many birds); 6.T; 7.T; 8.F (the giant tortoise can weigh up to 500 pounds).
    Vocabulary Builder. 1.a, 2.c, 3.c, 4.b, 5.d.
    Main Idea. Growing tourism and unwelcome mosquitoes could change the Galpagos forever.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Science. Have students learn more about some of the unique species found on the Galpagos Islands.


    Use the Use the News printable page (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on their news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Connections
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-CONN.PK-12.1 Recognize and Use Connections Among Mathematical Ideas NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

    GRADES K - 4
    NPH-H.K-4.4 Health Influences
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NPH-H.5-8.4 Health Influences
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NPH-H.9-12.4 Health Influences

    GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.3 Life Science
    NS.K-4.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.3 Life Science
    NS.5-8.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.3 Life Science
    NS.9-12.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Economics
    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-EC.K-4.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.K-4.11 Money
    NSS-EC.K-4.13 Income and Earning
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-EC.5-8.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.5-8.11 Money
    NSS-EC.5-8.13 Income and Earning
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-EC.9-12.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.9-12.11 Money
    NSS-EC.9-12.13 Income and Earning

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.5 Environment and Society

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.
    Article by Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
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