Habitable Planet Population Simulator

Contributor
Annenberg Learner
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Simulation , Interactive Simulation
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This ecosystem interactive will allow the user to determine the producers and consumers (primary and secondary) in a simulated ecosystem. The user can then see the outcome of including species with particular diets, including the result of how food resources can be depleted if consumers have similar diets. The accompanying lessons do have questions to guide the development of investigations, and there are data tables that are provided to gather information as it is collected.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on cause and effect relationships between resources and growth of individual organisms and the numbers of organisms in ecosystems during periods of abundant and scarce resources.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This is a great interactive to build a lesson around. The publisher of this interactive also has support materials that are related throughout their site. The teacher should give the students background information and help them to develop a question to investigate. This interactive will give the students data to analyze that would show how the species’ populations would react over a period of time. The students would then analyze the data to determine the answer to their initial question.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The simulation is a great tool, but the teacher will have to develop the actual student activity to introduce and scaffold the analysis of the data.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The teacher will need to determine the engagement to bring the lesson to the point of using this interactive. The graph and visual population chart will help students to see the changes over time.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The teacher will need to determine the engagement to bring the lesson to the point of using this interactive. Discussion of the needs of living things should be included.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The teacher will need to determine the engagement to bring the lesson to the point of using this interactive. The interactive definitely works to show the outcome of competition among species, but does not include nonliving factors. The teacher may need additional resources to include that part of the DCI, or another lesson that includes nonliving factors can be included

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This interactive can be used to show cause and effect relationships in many ways. The teacher could have the student to develop their own ideas and test them out.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Although this is only an interactive, it will be a great tool for a teacher to develop a lesson set that meets this Performance Expectation. As with any NGSS lesson, the teacher must allow the student to develop their own ideas and test them out. This interactive will allow this and provide simple data for the student to analyze.

  • Instructional Supports: The interactive provides selected questions to help students develop ideas. There is an introduction under "Lessons" that will help students figure out how to run the simulation and give them an idea of what types of questions they can ask in the future. The data table that can be downloaded from the Overview page allows them to predict a starting and ending population with various species and then record their data. Questions are asked in the Step 1 and 2 section of the lesson plans that let them analyze their data in the scenario provided. The website does provide additional background information that would be useful to the teacher when developing a lesson as well as a data table for recording data as it is gathered.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Although this interactive provides a great simulation and some good guiding questions, the teacher will need to develop their own tools to measure student progress.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is fairly easy to use and provides a visual representation of the population changes as well as a graphical representation. The teacher will definitely have to provide time so the students can learn how to use the simulator before the students can use it to learn about the effects of resource availability on organisms in a given ecosystem. The interactive allows the user to change the food web.