3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

If you are teaching the Next Generation Science Standards and are looking for phenomena ideas, you’ve come to the right place! I like to think about phenomena as lesson starters. They are photos or videos showing an observable event in the universe and are used to get kids thinking, asking questions, and discussing their prior knowledge. For more information about using phenomena, there is a handy printable guide and video here:

And now, on to our environmental phenomenon!

Lionfish are native to the warm, tropical waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Today, many of them can be found off the coast of Florida and nearby in the Caribbean Sea. They were first brought to Florida as an aquarium fish years ago. People thought they looked interesting and wanted to watch them in their fish tanks.  The story goes that a hurricane came through and tipped over aquariums with lionfish. They made their way into the ocean near Florida. Now that the lionfish are in a new environment, they’re causing trouble.                                                                           

Why? First, lionfish are considered to be an invasive species. They are not native to the habitat near the U.S. and in the Caribbean Sea where they now live. The problem with lionfish is they have no natural predators in this new habitat.  In their native habitat, sharks, cornetfish, groupers, large eels, frogfish, and scorpionfish eat lionfish.  In their new habitat, nothing does! Just one female lionfish can also spawn, or lay, up to two million eggs every year. These two factors mean there are now millions of lionfish in places where there used to be none!


This excerpt is from the text: The Problem With Lionfish by Sarah Wassner Flynn.  The Problem With Lionfish is found in, StarrMatica Texts:  Science Your Way, a collection of informational texts written specifically to address every K-5 NGSS Performance Expectation.  All texts in the collection are written at six different Lexile levels, so all students can read the same content at their reading level.  You can find out more about StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way here: