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States Declare War on Carp


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


Grades 2-up

News Content

Invasive species are creating problems in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Anticipation Guide

Invite students to identify the location of the Great Lakes on a U.S. map.

Then ask students to share the names of different types of fish about which they have heard or read. Create a list of the fish that students identify. If the species carp is not there, add it to the list and explain that carp is a common name for various species of an freshwater fish, many of which are native to Europe and Asia. Carp feed on microscopic plant life -- algae and other plankton, for example -- that live on the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: microscopic, appetite, tourism, algae, canal, and invade. 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:

  • A film of green _____ covered the aquarium glass. (algae)
  • Playing basketball helped Sal work up a big ____ for his mothers lasagna. (appetite)
  • Soldiers were set to ____ the building when the plan was suddenly called off. (invade)
  • The Panama ____ enables ships to travel easily from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. (Canal)
  • Each year, our state takes in millions of dollars in taxes from the travel and ____ industry. (tourism)
  • Many illnesses are caused by ____ germs with which we come in contact. (microscopic)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story States Declare War on Carp.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share with students this CBS News video about the fear of a carp invasion in the Great Lakes.

    Then, you might also share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Invasive species" is a term often used to refer to non-native, or non-indigenous, species that impact habitats or cause economic, environmental, or ecological harm to an area.
  • Asian carp is a term used to define a variety of related freshwater fish. The two species of concern in the United States are the bighead carp and silver carp.
  • Asian carp are not predators, so they are not going to feed on animals or other fish. The biggest danger carp pose is that devour the bottom layers of the food chain. They eat up huge quantities of plankton, which can have a devastating impact on other smaller species that rely on plankton to survive. Some people call carp eating machines." David Ullrich, executive director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, says they're like the locusts of the river."
  • Carp are also prolific reproducers, so their populations can increase quickly.
  • Silver carp have become a YouTube staple. When startled by boats, they can leap out of the water like finned missiles. Some have even harmed boaters [see video].
  • Carp were brought into the United States in the 1970s to help control algae growth in self-contained catfish hatcheries. Over the years, floods swept some of those hatchery carp into the Mississippi River basin. The fish have made their way north up the Mississippi and into other connecting rivers, such as the Illinois River. The Illinois River connects to Lake Michigan in Chicago via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The Army Corps of Engineers put an electric barrier in the canal to prevent carp from making their way into Lake Michigan, but it is not known if that will be enough to stop them. Although no live fish have been found yet in Lake Michigan, scientists have found Asian carp DNA there. Thats enough to show that theyre likely making their way into the lakes," Lindsay Chadderton, director of The Nature Conservancys Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species program, told TIME magazine.
  • Scientists arent sure if Lake Michigan is an ideal habitat for carp. The weather there should sustain them nicely; the temperatures in the region are similar to those in the carps native China. But it is generally believed that carp need to spawn in swift-moving rivers. The Great Lakes offer an environment that is more still and stable than many rivers.
  • The governors of Michigan and Wisconsin are not willing to take chances on carp. They want the canal to be closed in order to prevent movement of the fish into the Great Lakes. But lawmakers in Illinois say closing the canal would harm the shipping industry by disrupting the easy flow of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods.
  • U.S. government officials are getting in on the act because they believe it is easier to prevent invasive species from expanding into an area than it is to get rid of them once they settle. Government officials say the current electric barrier might not work to contain the carp when floods occur, so they have proposed building new physical barriers at the Chicago canal.
  • Many invasive species come into countries aboard boats and planes. To learn more about species that have invaded" the United States, visit the U.S. Department of Agricultures National Invasive Species Information Center. If youre looking for a worldwide perspective, you might share TIME magazines Worlds Top 10 Invasive Species.

    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
    Use the News: Reading Comprehension. 1.T, 2.T, 3.NI, 4.F, 5.T, 6.T, 7.F, 8.NI, 9.T, 10.NI.
    Language Practice: Building Vocabulary. 1.c, 2.d, 3.a, 4.c, 5.b.
    Reading Comprehension: Main Idea. d. Some state leaders hope to keep carp under control.


    Use the Comprehension Check (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 questions on the 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-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    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-4.18 National Productivity
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-EC.5-8.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.5-8.18 National Productivity
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-EC.9-12.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.9-12.18 National Productivity

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions
    NSS-G.K-12.4 Human Systems
    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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