This learning activity introduces students to some basic factors influencing populations. Two population scenarios involving the Kaibab Deer and the Moose of Isle Royale provide ecological scenarios in this activity to facilitate student learning.
The activity includes 12 pages of reading, writing and graphing activities. Specifically the activity contains two graphing and 18 short written response questions. The student version of this activity is posted in both pdf and editable word format to suit the needs of different educators and classrooms. The answer key is posted in pdf format. All three documents are contained within a downloadable zip file.
The activity has been correlated to ETS, NGSS and the Common Core learning standards. The standards involved are listed at the end of this description.
The activity was originally designed for use with my AP Biology students but may be suitable for lower level Biology students with some teacher guidance.
Student Learning Objectives
Upon the completion of this learning activity:
1. explain what is meant by a limiting factor
2. define the term ecology.
3. explain the following terms related to ecological organization; population, community and ecosystem.
4. define the terms abiotic and biotic factor and list examples of each.
5. discuss several examples of geological and meteorological events impacting ecosystem
6. define the term competition and discuss several examples of this.
7. explain what is meant by a predator-prey relationship and discuss several examples of this.
ETS Learning Objectives for the AP Bio Exam
LO 4.11 The student is able to justify the selection of the kind of data needed to answer scientific questions about the interaction of populations within communities.
LO 4.12 The student is able to apply mathematical routines to quantities that describe communities composed of populations of organisms that interact in complex ways.
LO 4.13 The student is able to predict the effects of a change in the community’s populations on the community.
NGSS Learning Standards
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on quantitative analysis and comparison of the relationships among interdependent factors including boundaries, resources, climate, and competition. Examples of mathematical comparisons could include graphs, charts, histograms, and population changes gathered from simulations or historical data sets.]
HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales. [Clarification Statement: Examples of mathematical representations include finding the average, determining trends, and using graphical comparisons of multiple sets of data.]
Common Core State Standards Connections:
RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
RST.11-12.8 Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.
WHST.9-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP.4 Model with mathematics.