Ecology and Systems Biology: Carrying Capacity

In honor of DiscoverU week, I spent the first 15 minutes of class today sharing my own path from high school through, college and career as a biotech scientist, all the way to my new career as a high school science teacher.  On Wednesday, all of my students will be taking the PSAT, the SAT practice exam.  For the remainder of the class, students were introduced to the concept of carrying capacity through a Power Point slide deck (slides 1-7) and a reading passage.  Students then had class time to complete a worksheet providing them with practice using the SQ3R reading strategy combined with Cornell Notes.  Students who did not complete the reading and worksheet in class should finish both tonight as homework.

Updated: October 14, 2014 – Day 2 of Carrying Capacity Lesson

We began the day watching a video titled Monitoring the Brine Shrimp Population.  In their lab notebooks, students made a list of the various instruments they saw the scientists using, and we compiled a class list after the video.  Students learned how the different instruments are used to monitor various aspects of the Great Salt Lake.  Next, we completed the carrying capacity slide deck from yesterday.  We brainstormed factors that limit family size, and applied our thinking to the question of whether or not the Earth had reached maximum carrying capacity for humans.  Infectious disease, specifically the Ebola Virus, came up as a factor that limits the human population, so we held a discussion about what is currently known about the Ebola outbreak and how scientists are working to develop therapies.  Students were also reminded to get plenty of rest and to eat breakfast tomorrow in order to be at their best for the PSAT.