Reflection: Real World Applications Population Dynamics (Day #3 of 3) - Section 2: Anticipatory Set ("Hook")


Cue Julie Andrews (Sound of Music), "let's start at the very beginning a very good place to start. When you read you begin with abc, when you sing you begin with do re mi..." And when you learn you say Unit Map!

In my practice, we start with a clear outline of what we are about to learn. I call this a "Unit Map" because it guides our journey from stern to stem, start to finish for a given unit of study. I have explained my thinking elsewhere. Should you like to learn more about this resource, please click here.

With these goals in mind (for Unit 7.1 in particular), I regularly analyze student assessment data in order to determine how well we did. In the case of the present assessment, you can see how individual student scores break down. I highlighted my two biology classes (Periods 3, 5) in columns 1 and 2. For each class I determine five conclusions:

1. What was the highest score among the featured students? In this case 18 points was the maximium. Three students scored 18 among the two classes.

2. What was the minimum score among the featured students? In any case 0 points is the minimum but one student (P3) scored 8/18 and another (P5) scored slightly higher (9/18).

3. What was the median score among the featured students? As measures of central tendency go, there are competing opinions of which to use: median or average? I choose the median because with averages, the value can become very skewed with a handful or really high or low scores thus blurring what the entire data set indicates. In an ideal case, both median and average are the same. In this case, the median scores were 15, 16 in P3, 5 respectively.

4. What was the average score among the featured students? In this case, the average scores were 14.5, 15.1 in P3, 5 respectively.

5. What was the mode score among the featured students? Just to round out the statistical menu, the mode says that the most frequent score was 14 and 17 in P3, 5 respectively.

So boiling it down in an objective manner, if an A represents 16.2+/18 and a B represents 14.4-16.1/18 then both classes (on an aggregate) scored a B or higher when looking through either the median or average lens. Sounds pretty good to me!

Note: For those of you who have been deprived of a great American film classic (1965), you can get your culture on starting here!

  Real World Applications: Hands-on, Minds-on Learning (II)
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Population Dynamics (Day #3 of 3)

Unit 7: 7) Ecology ("Population Interactions")
Lesson 6 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to explain how the complex set of interactions within an ecosystem can keep the numbers and types of organisms relatively constant over long periods of time under stable conditions. Students will also understand that, when encountering instability, populations can be resilient or severely challenged.

Big Idea: Populations of species are influenced by the abiotic and biotic factors present in the environment. However, feedback mechanisms help to adjust a population's size toward its "ideal" level.

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Science, Populations and Ecosystems, abiotic factors, carrying capacity, exponential growth, Ecology, Biotic Factors, feedback, logistic growth, competitive exclus, predator and prey
  55 minutes
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