Reflective Writing in response to Invasive Species Removal

Karen Harding
Pierce College
Lakewood, WA
Faculty Emerita
Author Profile

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This page first made public: Oct 9, 2012


Students enrolled in a Restoration Ecology course participate in a hands-on project to remove an invasive plant (Scotch Broom) from the restoration site. This activity outlines potential reflective writing prompts that could be used in a science course to enhance student understanding of scientific concepts.

Learning Goals

Participate in a service learning project
Connect service project to course content, such as ecosystem dynamics, adaptation, grownth patterns in plants
Reflect on service experience
Illustrate role of reflective practice in science course

Context for Use

This activitty is designed as an integral part of a service project in a Restoration Ecology course; in this case students worked with shovels, axes and other implements to remove Scotch Broom from a restoration site located in parkland adjacent to campus (Fort Steilacoom Park.) The reflective writing prompts are designed to help students deepen their understanding of an environmental issue by asking them to view the issue from multiple perspectives. Students are also asked to connect more generalized course content to one particular invasive plant species. Although the context in which this assignment was used was a Restoration Ecology course, this activity could easily be modified for use in an introductory, non-majors course.

The time devoted to the service project itself can be determined by the instructor, but it should include enough time that each student has the opportunity to complete some of the physical labor necessary to remove a Scotch Broom plant. The reflective writing could be completed during class time or outside of class. If the reflective writing is done during class, at least 20 minutes for writing is recommended.

The reflective writing could be used as a tool to assess how effectively a student can apply course content to this particular invasive species. Or, the writing could be used to help students prepare for class discussion.

Description and Teaching Materials

The attached files describe time needed for this activity, materials needed, the reflective writing prompts, teaching tips, assessment and resources. Reflective Writing for Invasive Species Removal (Microsoft Word 41kB Apr16 12)

Teaching Notes and Tips

These are included in the assignment


Suggestions are included in the assignment description

References and Resources