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Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover 

tgrover@dsdmail.net

Annette Nielson

afonnesbeck@dsdmail.net

Storyline Narrative 6.4.4

SEEd Standard 6.4.4 asks student to construct an argument supported by evidence that the stability of populations is affected by both living and nonliving components causing changes to an ecosystem.  

 

To address this standard, our storyline is focused on the phenomenon, stability of populations is affected by changes to an ecosystem.  We begin by engaging students with evidence from an article about the effects of nonnative rabbits introduced to the Australian ecosystem.  Students will construct an argument that the stability of the ecosystem was affected by the nonnative rabbits.  

 

Students then explore the effects of one population of animals can have on the stability of an ecosystem.  Students will gather evidence about sea otter populations and their effect on the stability of the kelp forest ecosystem.  They will construct an argument supported by evidence that sea otters are a keystone species in the kelp forest ecosystem affected the growth of kelp forests and then indirectly resource availability for many other organisms.  

 

Next, students will participate in and explain a simulation of two wolf populations where they will raise a pack of wolves under 2 different conditions; without human interference and with human interference.  They will collect data for each part of the simulation and will interpret the data to construct an explanation supported by evidence from the simulation of the factors affecting the stability of wolf populations.

 

Students then elaborate as they analyze data of the Kaibab deer population and identify causes for the fluctuations in the stability of the deer population. Students use their understandings about other ecosystems and what they learned from the simulation to help them make sense of the data.


Finally to evaluate students’ understanding, students will research living and nonliving components that affect populations in Utah ecosystems.  Students will obtain information about  a native Utah endangered species and the factors that have affected the stability of its population.  After groups have presented their findings to the class, students will look for common factors that affect stability of populations.  Finally, students will be assessed on their ability to construct an argument supported by evidence as they examine evidence about the decline in the desert tortoise population.  They will use the evidence to construct an argument that both living and nonliving components have affected the stability of the desert tortoise population in the southeastern deserts of the United States.

Episode 1

Question

How have nonnative rabbits affected the ecosystem of Australia?

Snapshot

Students will read an article, gather evidence, and construct an explanation of how about nonnative rabbits in Australia have affected the stability of Australia’s ecosystem.

Conceptual Understandings

Nonnative species can cause destructive changes affecting stability of an ecosystem.

How can one population of animals affect the stability of an ecosystem?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Otters are a keystone species in the kelp forest ecosystem.  Fluctuating populations of otters directly affect kelp forests and the organisms that rely on that ecosystem.

What factors can affect populations in an ecosystem?

Snapshot

Students will gather evidence from a video and an article and construct an explanation of how otters are a keystone species and directly affect the stability of the kelp forest ecosystem.  

Episode 2

Question

How do sea otter populations affect the growth and stability of kelp forests?

 

Episode 3

Question

What factors affect wolf populations?

Snapshot

Students will participate in a simulation where they will raise a pack of wolves under 2 different conditions; without human interference and with human interference.  They will collect data for each part of the simulation and will analyze the data to construct an explanation of the factors affecting wolf populations.

Conceptual Understandings

The stability of wolf populations can be affected by human interference in the ecosystem.

What can cause fluctuations in populations?

 

Conceptual Understandings

The removal of predators affected the stability of the deer population.

What can cause species to become endangered?

Snapshot

Students will examine a scenario about the Kaibab deer population, formulate questions, and identify the problem that occurred.  Students will analyze a data chart and construct an argument supported by evidence for what caused the fluctuations in the deer population.

Episode 4

Question

What caused fluctuations in the Kaibab deer populations?

 

Episode 5

Question

What causes species to become endangered?

Snapshot

Students will research native Utah species that have become endangered and the factors that affected the stability of the population.  After presenting their findings to the class, students will look for commonalities that affect the stability of populations.

Conceptual Understandings

The stability of populations in an ecosystem is affected by many different living and nonliving components.

I can construct an argument supported by evidence that the stability of populations is affected by changes to an ecosystem.