Reflection: Routines and Procedures Population Dynamics (Day #1 of 3) - Section 2: Anticipatory Set ("Hook")


Stimulating student discussion: It sounds easier than it actually is but the practice can be developed!

When I implemented the "Four Corners" strategy in class, I did so with the following principles in mind:

1) Use your greatest tool-good questions or statements: For example, the statements I posed were intentionally ambiguous that permitted multiple interpretations that more likely leads to a more interesting discussion. "Populations can grow indefinitely (without end)." This statement could be interpreted with or without limiting factors (e.g. lack of food, overcrowding and competition among its members). To get kids thinking divergent ways is my goal.

2) Get evidence from the get-go: Regardless of how students answer, I like to dig more deeply as to why students respond as they do. "You have a population of fruit flies in a large building. If you gave the population all the food and water it needs, the population would continue to increase in size." When presented the preceding statement, I required students to explain why, specifically, they agreed or disagreed. For example, one student stated that he agreed since, by the plain reading of the statement, there was no mention of an end to the provision of food and water. By a different interpretation, another student disagreed; no specific mention of continued provision was made.

 3) Invite multiple perspectives: Given that there are four possible stations ("corners"), two of which are negative and two positive, when we discuss student opinion I call on at least two stations (one on either side of the "values fence").

Principles adapted from

  Generating and Refining Class Discussion
  Routines and Procedures: Generating and Refining Class Discussion
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Population Dynamics (Day #1 of 3)

Unit 7: 7) Ecology ("Population Interactions")
Lesson 4 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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