Site Feedback

Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover 

tgrover@dsdmail.net

Annette Nielson

afonnesbeck@dsdmail.net

Storyline Narrative 6.4.1

SEEd standard 6.4.1 asks students to analyze data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations in an ecosystem. Students are also expected to ask questions to predict how changes in resource availability affects organisms in those ecosystems. This standard specifically suggests using examples such as water, food, and living space in Utah environments.

 

To address this standard, our storyline is focused on explaining the phenomena, resource availability affects populations.  We begin by engaging students with some interesting data on the fluctuating deer populations in Utah. Students analyze the data to formulate questions about what could be causing the deer population to change from year to year.

 

To explore what could be causing the trends in the data, students gather and analyze data as they participate in a simulation that represents what could be happening with resources that might affect the deer population.  The simulation focuses on the availability of resources such as water, food, and cover and its possible effects on the population size of deer in Utah.  The simulation will lead students to
wonder how specific resources can cause changes in populations in an ecosystem.  

 

Students use their understandings found by analyzing the fluctuating deer population data to help them gather evidence to explain how specific resources, or lack thereof, affect different populations.  They first examine how food availability in Utah has had an effect on a population of hummingbirds. Using data students find a cause and effect relationship between of the availability of nectar-producing flowers on population numbers and the population size of Broad-tailed hummingbirds.  

 

Students elaborate as they use their understanding of the hummingbirds to look at the June Sucker’s ecosystem. Students analyze data and determine that the decline of June Suckers is affected by something other than the availability of food. Instead, it is affected by competition with a nonnative species and this has caused significant changes to population.  Students can then use their conceptual models of the previous ecosystems to predict Prairie Dog data. Students predictions will be based on data that suggest there is a relationship between Mountain plovers and prairie dogs.  


Finally, students will be evaluated on their ability to analyze fluctuating data on Utah Deer populations and the amount of precipitation and their ability to ask questions to determine the cause of a decline in sage grouse.

Episode 1

Question

What causes deer populations to fluctuate?

Snapshot

Students will gather data as they participate in a simulation of deer populations.  This simulation looks at the effect of resource availability on a population.  As habitat resources are depleted, the population of deer will be affected.  

Conceptual Understandings

Populations are affected by resource availability

How does the availability of food affect a population?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Hummingbird populations are affected by availability of food resources.

Even if there are plenty of food resources available, what might cause a population’s number to significantly decline?

Snapshot

Students will look at two sets of data--hummingbird populations and numbers of nectar-producing flowers  Students will construct questions and analyze data to determine the cause for the fluctuations in hummingbird populations.

Episode 2

Question

How does the availability of food affect a population?

 

Episode 3

Question

Even if there are plenty of food resources available, what might cause a population’s number to significantly decline?

Snapshot

Students will analyze population data charts to determine the cause of the decline of the June sucker population in Utah Lake.

Conceptual Understandings

Lack of adequate food resources affected the June sucker populations in Utah Lake.

What other resources besides food might affect a population?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Mountain plover populations are directly affected by the population of prairie dogs.

What other factors besides resource availability affect populations?

 

How do organisms interact in an ecosystem?

Snapshot

Students will analyze data of mountain plover nests.  Then after obtaining information about prairie dogs and their importance to the prairie ecosystem, they will predict possible prairie dog populations that correspond to the mountain plover data.

Episode 4

Question

What other resources besides food might affect a population?