Reflection: Real World Applications Limiting factors and models of population growth (1 of 2) - Section 6: ELABORATE: A model of carrying capacity and species interactions


Population ecology simulations are wonderful tools that allow students to ask a wide range of questions about population ecology and answer them through modeling. They align perfectly with many of the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts of the Next Generation Science Standards. They also have a gamification aspect, in that many student will naturally engage in competitive learning. Who can make the rabbit population crash the fastest? Who can build the most stable population interactions? Who can get the closest to a population crash with a population dying out? This aspect of purposeful play deepens students' understanding of concepts through an activity that feels like play. As with other gamified lessons in this course, this particular activity was difficult for students to stop. Many wanted to stay after class to "win" some game that they had created with the simulator.  

  Modeling software as learner-directed teaching tool
  Real World Applications: Modeling software as learner-directed teaching tool
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Limiting factors and models of population growth (1 of 2)

Unit 4: Populations
Lesson 2 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to 1) categorize factors that limit population growth as density-dependent or density-independent; 2) define carrying capacity; and 3) accurately predict how density-dependent factors will limit the growth of populations.

Big Idea: Factors that affect population size can be density-dependent or density- independent. How might we use modeling to understand the impact of each type of factor on population growth?

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Science, population ecology, computer simulations
  55 minutes
graphic limiting factors and models of population
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