HS-LS2-1 Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales
Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on quantitative analysis and comparison of the relationships among interdependent factors including boundaries, resources, climate, and competition. Examples of mathematical comparisons could include graphs, charts, histograms, and population changes gathered from simulations or historical data sets.
Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include deriving mathematical equations to make comparisons.
This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.
Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students engage in three-dimensional learning by manipulating values for three different factors that impact the stability of three different populations within an ecosystem. When the simulation is run, a graph of each population over time is shown. The size of the initial population may be set, allowing students to see the impact of different scales. Teachers may want to allow students to first familiarize themselves with the instructions and the simulation. Once students are comfortable with using the simulation, one suggestion is for students to ask a specific question, develop a hypothesis based on their question, and then design and execute an experiment that will provide evidence to either support or refute their hypothesis. Additional opportunities to support and defend their explanations with peers would increase the engagement and learning of this exercise.