Ecology and Systems Biology: Structured Talk

Last Thursday, my 4th period students participated in Studio Day.  The lesson involved using structured talk to discuss student predictions around population modeling of organisms in the Great Salt Lake.  Today, I taught the first day of that lesson to my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th period students.  My 4th period students continued the lesson from last Thursday, using mathematical modeling and knowledge of biomass and energy transfer to determine the number of organisms in each trophic level present in an area of the Great Salt Lake.

Updated: On Tuesday, my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th period students continued the lesson be started yesterday.  We returned to the halobacteria growth curves and calculated the amount of biomass available to the primary consumers (the brine shrimp).  Students learned that there were only enough halobacteria to support 2 brine shrimp, which is not enough energy to support an Avocet (secondary consumer) or a Northern Harrier (tertiary consumer).  Students completed the modeling activity and explained their population curves using the science concepts we have learned this unit, focusing on biomass, limiting factors, and carrying capacity.  My 4th period students read about the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park following the reintroduction of wolves back in 1995.