Ecology Lab: The Wild Bean Population - Estimating Population Size

Grade Levels
Resource Types
Product Rating
File Type
Compressed Zip File
Be sure that you have an application to open this file type before downloading and/or purchasing.
How to unzip files.
1.98 MB   |   10 pages


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.


PLEASE NOTE: This lab activity is included in a money-saving bundle: Population Ecology Complete Unit Bundle. Click this link to view the bundle.


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

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

I would love to have you follow me at these locations as well:
My Blog: Amy Brown
My Facebook Page
On Pinterest
Instagram: @AmyBrownScience

Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 Minutes

Average Ratings

Overall Quality:
57 ratings
Please log in to post a question.
Digital Download
User Rating: 4.0/4.0
Digital Download
Ecology Lab: The Wild Bean Population - Estimating Populat
Ecology Lab: The Wild Bean Population - Estimating Populat
Ecology Lab: The Wild Bean Population - Estimating Populat
Ecology Lab: The Wild Bean Population - Estimating Populat
Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.

Learn More

Keep in Touch!

Sign up