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The Ups and Downs of Populations Lesson Overview

Students will analyze population graphs, collect data to generate their own population graph, and experience limiting factors and their impact on carrying capacity in a small deer population. Students will be able to identify, explain, and evaluate the impact that different limiting factors have on the population of organisms including food, water, shelter, predation, human interference, changes in birth and death rate, changes in immigration and emigration, disease, and reproduction.


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80 Minutes
2-4 students
PTI Inquiry
1.3, 3.1, 4.2, 4.4, 5.8, 7.3, 7.5
Lesson Components Time Inquiry Skills Tech. Used Engage Level Brief Description
Engage 10 min 1.3, 4.2, 4.4, 7.5 Student personal electronic devices (BYOT) 2 Students will analyze 2 different deer population graphs and make hypotheses about what accounts for the differences in the populations. Students will conduct background research on what deer need to survive in the ecosystem.
Explore 20 min 3.1 none 3 Students will randomly draw cards to explore how different limiting factors cause changes to their population of deer.
Explain 20 min 4.2, 4.4, 5.8, 7.3 none 2 Students will graph their data and respond to follow up questions about their deer population changes.
Expand 20 min 4.4, 5.8, 7.3 none 2 Students will choose a different animal and identify the limiting factors in their ecosystem, graphically model the population of their animal and explain the cause of changes in their population.
Evaluate 10 min 7.3 none 1 Students will complete a summative assessment on population dynamics.

Level of Student Engagement
1     Low     Listen to lecture, observe the teacher, individual reading, teacher demonstration, teacher-centered instruction
2     Medium     Raise questions, lecture with discussion, record data, make predictions, technology interaction with assistance
3     High     Hands-on activity or inquiry; critique others, draw conclusions, make connections, problem-solve, student-centered

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