The Effects of Human Activities on Animal Populations

Students will be able to identify the effects of human interactions on the population size of their chosen animal based on their research. Given a data set for their chosen animal population, students will be able to choose a function to best represent the data, then argue why it is the best function.

By Fortuna High School: Pam Halstead, Wilton Wilson, Brooke Raven, Gloria Valdez, and Eric Helms

Animal Populations Tab

Goals specific to the unit
  • Students will be able to identify the proper function to model various phenomena
  • Students will be able to identify visual representations of functions
  • Given a data set, students will be able to choose a function to best represent the data, then argue why it is the best function
  • Students will be able to identify the effects of human interactions on the population size of their chosen animal based on their research.
  • Students will be able to predict the changes in the population size in the future based on their research.
Broad subject matter goals
  • Students will actively use prior knowledge to solve novel mathematics problems
  • Students will persevere to solve problems
  • Students will reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Students will construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Students will model with mathematics
  • Students use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales
  • Students will 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
  • Students will evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Long term goals for student development
  • Students will learn how to work with real-world data sets
  • The lesson will allow for multiple answers or nebulous valid answers (cost-benefit will be considered)
  • The lesson will move students beyond a single right answer mentality in math and science
Click here to see a pacing guide for this module
Day 1: Students research their chosen animal population
Day 2: Students analyze simple graphs to find which functions families they best represent.
Day 3: Students subdivide their population data into distinct function families.
Day 4: Students examine their subdivisions and reflect on possible causal relations
Desmos - A free online tool for graphing and regressions
Living Planet Index - A massive database of animal populations from around the world.