Ecology Lab Estimating Population Size

Rated 4.82 out of 5, based on 156 reviews
156 Ratings
Amy Brown Science
Grade Levels
8th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
10 pages
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Amy Brown Science

What educators are saying

This was an engaging activity to use to introduce population ecology to my students. It led to great conversations and my students enjoyed the lab.
My students had a great time. I actually used this as an intro to population ecology with a little extra instruction/explanation. And I am grateful for your mindfulness of resources :)
Also included in
  1. Nothing generates excitement like a great lab activity. Whether the topic is cells, biochemistry, genetics, mitosis, or the compound microscope, these 15 Must-Do Labs will ensure your students master the concepts. From DNA to dichotomous keys to enzymes, this bundle provides quality lab activities o
    Price $37.00Original Price $48.99Save $11.99
  2. This "Population Ecology Unit Bundle" includes everything you need to teach a unit on population ecology to your life science, environmental science, or biology students. The bundle contains a 64-slide PowerPoint presentation with notes, a set of task cards, 2 labs, homework assignments, quizzes, te
    Price $27.50Original Price $35.49Save $7.99
  3. This NO PREP, PRINTABLE, EDITABLE, AND DIGITAL Biology Curriculum contains everything you need for an entire year of Biology! For less than $3 a day, you can save your time, energy, and sanity. Each of the 20 Complete Units includes a teaching PowerPoint presentation, notes, labs, homework assignmen
    Price $535.00Original Price $982.16Save $447.16
  4. All of my ecology and environmental science resources (6 ecology unit bundles) are included in this one Super-Mega-Bundle! This mega-bundle includes all of the PowerPoints, notes, labs, task cards, homework assignments, review games, quizzes, activities, and unit tests that you need to teach a comp
    Price $178.00Original Price $247.13Save $69.13


Population biologists have developed several methods for sampling a population. In this lab, the student will use the sampling technique known as the "mark and recapture method" to estimate the size of a population of wild beans! Students will compare their estimation of the population size obtained from lab data to the actual population size and calculate their percent error.

This lab is very easy to set up and very easy to clean up. No fancy materials are required, and yet, I find this to be one of the best labs that I use with my biology students. Students will carry out a sampling technique called the "mark and recapture method" that is often used by scientists when conducting population studies. The lab requires that the student carry out the sampling technique, collect data, complete mathematical calculations, and answer thought provoking/problem solving questions. This lab is perfect for reinforcing critical thinking skills.

This lab is appropriate for students in grades 8 - 12. The experiment and collection of data is easily completed by students in these grades. The differentiation in ability levels comes in the analysis questions. For younger students, it may be necessary to omit the last 2 or 3 analysis questions. You will receive both an editable Word document and a PDF of this lab in your download.

I use this lab when teaching my unit on Population Ecology. It is the perfect activity to use with my PowerPoint on Population Ecology.


1. To learn the "mark and recapture" technique for estimating the size of a population.

2. To calculate the size of a population from given data.

3. To make predictions about the size of a population under various conditions.

Materials required for this lab:

• Brown lunch sack

• White Beans (dry)

• Beaker or Cup

• Red Kidney Beans (dry)

• Calculator.

This document consists of 10 pages. The student handout is 6 pages long and consists of Title, Introduction, Purpose, Materials, Procedure, Data Table, Equations, Calculations, and Analysis Questions.

Also included is a 4-page teacher guide. This teacher guide includes preparation tips for setting up the lab, sample data, and answers to all questions found in the student handout.

Related Products Include:

Introduction to Ecology PowerPoint with Notes for Teacher and Student

Population Ecology PowerPoint with Notes

Population Ecology Task Cards

Community Ecology with Notes for Teacher and Student

Ecology Chat 2: Population Ecology

Ecosystems and the Biosphere Part 1: Energy Flow and the Recycling of Matter PowerPoint with Notes for Teacher and Student

Outdoor Lab Activity: Exploring an Ecosystem

Ecosystems and the Biosphere Part 2: Biomes of the World PowerPoint and Notes

Humans and the Environment PowerPoint and Notes

FREE Set of Six Ecology Crossword Puzzles

FREE! Backyard Ecology: An Ecological Assessment of Your Back Yard

Population Ecology Quiz or Homework Practice

Population Ecology Homework Assignments / Study Guide

Population Ecology Unit Test

Population Ecology Review PowerPoint Q/A

Ecology Activity: Modeling Population Growth

For updates about sales and new products, please follow my store:

My TpT Store

Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
Report this resource to TPT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TPT’s content guidelines.


Questions & Answers


TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up