Week 12

Monday, November 18, 2019 (HS-LS2-1): With the aquatic farming project behind us, students will begin class in their assigned seats, where they will invest in building relationships with new members of the class for the remainder of this semester when the current unit concludes.

For our entry task today, students were asked to take a brief survey about science electives they are interested in taking next school year.  Students may click this survey link or use the QR code below:

Science Elective Survey QR Code

Our lesson will begin with a discussion of student learning from Friday’s work where they were assigned the task of writing a summary comparing a video and an article that present contrasting evidence about the effect of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park.  Students will share out evidence from both sources and practice the art of debating whether the evidence supports or disproves either position. Notes from class:

Next, we will advance our understanding of ecosystems by learning about the concepts of limiting factors and carrying capacity.  We will watch the video below as an example of how the population of one species (wolves) directly influenced the population of another species (elk) after wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone.  During the video, students will take notes in their Google Doc focusing on factors that influence the population size of wolves and elk, and will write down facts about population sizes.


Notes from class:

Finally, students will read the article titled “Interdependence Involves Limiting Factors and Carrying Capacity” on pages 650-652 of the BSCS Biology textbook.  Students will take notes and define vocabulary in their Yellowstone Google Doc.

  • limiting factor is anything that can slow, or limit, the growth of a population.
    • Biotic factors: food supply and other organisms
    • Abiotic factors: space, raw materials, climate (the prevailing weather conditions in a given area through long periods of time), light
  • Carrying capacity is the maximum population of a particular species that the habitat can support.  It changes as environmental conditions change.
  • Population density is the number of individuals in relation to the space the population occupies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 (HS-LS2-2): We will continue our learning about limiting factors and carrying capacity, concepts that help explain the population size of organisms in a given ecosystem, by bringing in the concept of trophic cascades.  We will continue our study of Yellowstone, focusing on the effect of wolf reintroduction, with a guided activity where students will watch a segment (first 2:36) of Earth: A New Wild and then they will complete Part 1: Defining Trophic Cascade.

Students who complete the activity early will have the opportunity to watch the full length of the video (5:19 total) and earn bonus credit by completing Part 2: Evaluate Solutions for Maintaining Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity.

Notes from class:



Wednesday, November 20, 2019 (HS-LS2-8): Students who need additional time to complete Part 1 and Part 2 from yesterday will work efficiently to complete those activities before moving forward. Parts 1 and 2 are due by the end of class today for full credit.

Students who are ready will begin researching the reproductive strategies used by various organisms within Yellowstone.  Information will be collected into the Yellowstone Google Doc in a section titled “Survival and Reproductive Strategies of (insert selected species here) in Yellowstone National Park.”  Complete research will include the following (note: some information may not be available or relevant depending on species being researched):

  1. Common name and scientific name (Genus and species) of a specific organism that lives in Yellowstone National Park
    • Example: elk (Cervus canadensis)
  2. Pictures of members of a species (male, female, baby)
  3. Names given to members of a species
    • Examples: Male elk are called bulls, female elk are called cows, and baby elk are called calves
  4. Diet type and preferred food sources
    • Diet type examples: herbivore, carnivore, omnivore
    • Preferred food sources examples: Elk eat grasses in the summer and woody growth in the winter months, and they snack on dandelions, violets, hawkweed, aster, clover and mushrooms.
  5. Average life span in the wild
  6. Average height and weight when full grown
    • Males and females may have very different sizes
  7. Preferred habitat in Yellowstone
  8. Average population size
    • Number of individual members of the species living in Yellowstone (see below for helpful links)
  9. Name of group
    • Example: a group of elk are called a Gang
  10. Description of common individual behaviors
    • How do individual members of the species spend their day?
  11. Explanation of common group behaviors (type and what it means)
    • Examples of types of common group behaviors: flocking, schooling, herding, hunting, migrating, swarming
  12. Explanation of how group behavior promotes survival of  individual members of the species
  13. Reproductive strategies
    • Examples: sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction, alternation of generations
  14. Age of sexual maturity for males and females of the species
  15. Breeding season
    • What time of year do members of the species mate?
  16. Gestation time
    • How long does the reproduction process take?
  17. Typical number of offspring produced each season

Selected resources about organisms to get started:

Selected resources with population size information:

Keep searching!  If you find a great resource, let Mr. Swart know so we can add it to our lists.

Thursday, November 21, 2019 (HS-LS2-8): Continue researching!  All student research will be used to construct a food web of Yellowstone National Park.  We need as much information as possible to construct an accurate and complete food web.  Students who complete research on an organism to continue researching additional organisms.  Ideally, all students will thoroughly research the survival and reproductive strategies of at least one animal, one plant, and one extremophile (bacteria or archaea).

Remember, to receive credit for this important work, all research must be entered into the “Survival and Reproductive Strategies of (insert selected species here) in Yellowstone National Park” section of the Yellowstone Google Doc.

Friday, November 22, 2019 (HS-LS2-8): Final day for survival and reproductive strategies research.  Student work will be assessed this weekend.  Students will also complete the Student Led Conference worksheet in preparation for SLCs next Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning.

Students who finish early should add selected data from their Survival and Reproductive Strategies of (insert selected species here) in Yellowstone National Park to the Yellowstone Biomass Survey.  The data will be used to build the Yellowstone Food Web next week.


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