HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
Clarification Statement: Examples of mathematical representations include finding the average, determining trends, and using graphical comparisons of multiple sets of data.
Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to provided data.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.
Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This lesson plan does a very good job of introducing students to one way of comparing biodiversity between two communities that may be different in size. The data gathering and analysis supports their comparison. However, in order to address the full breadth of the PE, students could consider how to use their quantitative results to support and/or revise explanations about abiotic/biotic factors affecting biodiversity in the two communities they are comparing. One way to do this is to have students explore the two different areas prior to collecting data. During these initial visits, students could make qualitative observations and offer ideas about their impressions of the two areas. Does one species dominate? Do they think that an area is biodiverse? Why or why not? How would they compare one area to another? In the lesson plan as written, teachers survey the area beforehand to collect plant specimens for the students to identify in the classroom prior to collecting data. If students participate in surveying the area and collecting specimens, they will learn more about the local ecology and can also participate in identifying which species to count. After participating in this initial survey, they can collect their data and see if it supports their explanations of why the two areas may differ from one another, consider abiotic/biotic factors within the two different communities that may be affecting populations, and also see if they need to revise their explanation. As they do so, they can offer evidence about factors that may be influencing their findings.