5E Instructional Model Plan: Population Dynamics

Contributor
Kiran Purohit,New Visions for Public Schools
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Instructor Guide/Manual , Informative Text , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Model , Phenomenon , Curriculum , Experiment/Lab Activity , Game
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 lesson plan by New Visions for Public Schools is part of a larger unit called “Ecosystems and Invasive Species within a one year course called The Living Environment. Each lesson is part of a unit storyline that helps students engage in three-dimensional learning as they make sense of the anchor phenomenon - the zebra mussel invasion into the Hudson River ecosystem. Each lesson may be used alone using a different investigative phenomenon. In each part of this lesson, students use authentic data from the Hudson River to explore different types of organisms interactions (such as predation, competition, symbiosis) that affect populations over time. The lesson follows the 5E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) and is expected to take 5-8 days of a 45-60 minute class. Teachers can select options, such as how groups are formed or the order of the instructional sequence, within each part of the lesson to achieve instructional goals.  Extensive instructional support, student handouts, and a final performance assessment task are provided.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

Clarification Statement: Examples of changes in ecosystem conditions could include modest biological or physical changes, such as moderate hunting or a seasonal flood; and extreme changes, such as volcanic eruption or sea level rise.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Throughout this lesson, students engage in three-dimensional learning as they build understanding towards explaining the anchor phenomenon. Using a variety of group learning routines, students work on their own, in pairs, and in small groups to make claims, find evidence, and construct reasoning about how different populations affect one another within an ecosystem. In the final performance task, students examine the evidence for how the zebra mussel may have changed the Hudson River ecosystem over time. The instructional materials recommend that students look at and revise the performance task before, during, and at the end of the lesson. In this way, students can see how their conceptual understanding changes during the course of the lesson.

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
Students are challenged in the Engage, Explore, and Explain sections of the lesson to make claims and to use evidence and reasoning to support their claims. For example, in the student handout “Hudson River Graph Student Prompts” in the Explain section, students first individually answer prompts about a population graph, supporting their responses with evidence, but then do a pair and share extension activity which engages them in peer review of each others’ conclusions. In the Explore section, students are provided with an authentic scenario and data from the Hudson River. Students graph and interpret the data in order to support a claim about how changes in one population affect another population. Teachers may want to emphasize to students the importance of evidence to support their claims throughout the lesson.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In the Elaborate section, students must obtain information from a number of sources to complete a graphic organizer which helps them to describe the different types of relationships within the Hudson River ecosystem. The performance task associated with this lesson, “Hudson River Ecology”, provides students with the opportunity to construct an explanation and revise it during the course of the lesson. Students are instructed to support their explanation with evidence from different parts of the lesson. Beginning with the introduction of the anchor phenomenon prior to the start of the lesson, teachers may want to encourage students to be thinking critically about their explanations as they encounter new evidence throughout the lesson. The students’ graphic organizers can be used throughout the lesson to capture students’ observations of evidence to support their explanation.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
In the Engage section, students are first introduced to a graph showing how one population in the Hudson River ecosystem changed over time. In the Explore section, students analyze data from a predator-prey relationship. As students complete the other sections in the lesson, they are exposed to more complex relationships and changes in other ecosystems. In the Elaborate section, students extend their conceptual understanding to include multiple, complex, interactive relationships (such as symbiosis and competition). Finally, in the performance task, students have the opportunity to answer the question, “How has the invasion of zebra mussels in the Hudson River affected one biotic or abiotic factor in the river ecosystem?” Teachers may want to encourage students to compare the simple systems they first encounter in the lesson with the more complex systems they consider in subsequent sections and consider ways that complexity may be beneficial to ecosystem functioning.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The driving question of the performance task associated with this lesson, “How has the invasion of zebra mussels in the Hudson River affected one biotic or abiotic factor in the river ecosystem?” provides students with the opportunity to consider how the Hudson River ecosystem may have changed or remained stable after the introduction of zebra mussels. Earlier, in the predator-prey student handout in the Explore section, students are asked, “What is the role of predators (such as wolves) in maintaining healthy prey populations?” Students later defend or refute their answer (hypothesis) with evidence provided within the handout. At the end of this same activity, students use a “Think - Talk - Open Exchange” to share with peers how this relates to the Hudson River ecosystem. Tasks such as these help students to construct explanations for how the Hudson River ecosystem may be changing or remaining stable after the introduction of zebra mussels. Teachers will want to continually remind students to connect back to the anchor phenomenon.

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
By analyzing smaller scale relationships within an ecosystem, such as temporal variations in copepod populations (Engage) or predator-prey relationships (Explore) students can identify relationships and predict (make claims about) the more complex relationships within the Hudson River ecosystem. Several places throughout the lesson, students have opportunities to make explicit what they know about ecosystem relationships and how they function. For example, the “Questions Only” activity in Engage section and the “See-Think-Wonder” organizer in the Explore section provide evidence of student thinking about cause and effect relationships. Teachers are encouraged to emphasize questions within the instructional sequence that help students to connect back to the phenomenon they are seeking to explain.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson within the “Ecosystems and Invasive Species” unit provides students with rich opportunities to engage in three-dimensional learning as they figure out the impact of zebra mussels on the Hudson River ecosystem. Students develop and use multiple practices, such as asking questions, constructing explanations, and engaging in argument from evidence as they use authentic data and information about current environmental issues affecting ecosystem stability. The crosscutting concept of stability and change links the lesson sections together as students use their understanding to ultimately make a claim and use evidence and reasoning to explain the outcome of this invasive species. Teachers may want to emphasize the crosscutting concept as it may be less obvious to students.

  • Instructional Supports: New Visions for Public Schools provides teachers with abundant resources to support the instruction of this unit. Within the Ecosystems and Invasive Species Unit Plan (bit.ly/2vMD4Ll), teachers will find planning resources, such as a storyline and pacing guide. Within the lesson, teachers have access to materials such as driving questions, alternative resources, student handouts, instructional sequences, group learning routines, and reading strategies. Information about the anchor phenomenon (bit.ly/2Pdbjnw) (as well as an associated performance task) will help support instruction of this lesson. Teachers may want to consider using components of other lessons to help students make sense of the anchor phenomenon. A variety of group learning routines to help students deepen their understanding are included within the lesson. The complete index of these routines may be found at this link: bit.ly/2ODnrNk. Formative assessment opportunities are embedded within the lesson plan and a final performance assessment task (bit.ly/2MNWUfM) is provided for the unit. Instructional strategies, such as “Pre, During, & Post Reading Strategies in Science Classrooms” (bit.ly/2Mu82l1) help make student thinking explicit and provide opportunities for teachers to modify instruction during the lesson. Differentiated instruction is supported by materials such as alternative lab activities and graphic organizers. Teachers are encouraged to explore the website for other resources not mentioned in this evaluation.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Through multiple graphic organizers, handouts, peer sharing, and tasks, this lesson provides many ways for teachers to monitor student progress. However, there is no scoring guidance nor are there any examples of student work for any part of the lesson. More formative assessments should be given to monitor individual student performance in order to provide intervention. Further support may be required to provide students with equally accessible tasks.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -