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Population Growth and Overpopulation


Population Growth and Overpopulation

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms, including humans, such as the overpopulation of grazers or the building of highways.

Essential Understanding

The student knows that there are relationships, systems, and cycles within environments.

Science Background

Deer Population Yields Disastrous Results for Forest: American University Radio (website) – An article that explores the consequences of too many deer (grazing animals) living in the same habitat.

Deer Population Yields Disastrous Results for Forest
American University Radio,

Signature Lesson

Oh Deer! Beacon Learning Center (PDF) - Students will graph population change over time according to habitat availability. After playing the game, they will be able to predict the effects of changes due to over population of the habitat by deer and other organisms.

Oh Deer!
Beacon Learning Center,

Supporting Lessons

The Lesson of the Kaibab: Biology Corner (website) - Deer populations recorded from 1905 to 1939 from the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona are graphed by students and analyzed.

The Lesson of the Kaibab
Biology Corner,

Blackbird Overpopulation: Annenberg (website) –-Red-winged blackbirds posed a problem for farmers in the U.S. when their population exploded in the late 1990’s. Information about this problem is incorporated into a role playing activity for students in which they examine different sides of the complex situation.

Blackbird Overpopulation
The Annenberg Learner,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Population Biology: San Diego State University (website) - Students simulate and graph the growth of lily pads in a pond. They will be able to predict the growth of lily pads.  Exercises 1, 2 and 6 are recommended.

Population Biology
San Diego State University, Biology Lessons,

Assessment Ideas

Use the graphic and rubric and answer sheet from the Oh Deer! Game to assess your students.

Literature Connections

Endangered Species. Deans, Nora (ISBN-13: 978-0792288770)

Populations and Ecosystems. Glass, Susan (ISBN-13: 978-0756944810)

Earth’s Growing Population. Chambers, Catherine (ISBN-13: 978-1432924232)

Exploring Ecosystems with Max Axiom, Super Scientist. Biskup, Agnieszka (ISBN-13: 978-0736878944 )

Here is the African Savanna. Dunphy, Madeline (ISBN-13: 978-0977379521)

Journey into the Rain Forest. Knight, Tim (ISBN-13: 978-0199107308)

Related Science TEKS

(5.9A) Interactions in Ecosystems
The student is expected to observe the way organisms live and survive in their ecosystem by interacting with the living and non-living elements.

(5.9B) Energy Flow
The student is expected to describe how the flow of energy derived from the Sun, used by producers to create their own food, is transferred through a food chain and food web to consumers and decomposers.

(5.9D) Carbon dioxide-oxygen Cycle
The student is expected to identify the significance of the carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle to the survival of plants and animals.

Related Math TEKS

5.13C   The student is expected to graph a given set of data using an appropriate graphical representation such as a picture or line graph.

Additional Resources

Experiment with Ecosystems: Concord Consortium (Software and PDF) - Engaging series of activities in which students experiment with, and make predictions about a variety of virtual ecosystem models, and test their hypotheses. 

Experiment with Ecosystems - Software Download
Concord Consortium,

Experiment with Ecosystems - PDF Teacher's Guide
Concord Consortium,

Predator Prey Simulation: Biology Corner (website) - In this simulation, students can manipulate three variables to determine how they affect the overall predator and prey populations.

Predator Prey Simulation
Biology Corner,

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