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Wildlife Populations

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Interaction with Wildlife

Grade Level: 6-12

Common Core Standards
RS.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.

Content Areas: Science, Math

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Learning Goals:
Students will recognize the proportionality of food webs.
Students will recognize and analyze the affects of environmental changes on food webs.


  1. Students should have a basic understanding about the interdependency of organisms in food webs.
  2. Initiate the lesson by introducing or reviewing the concepts of the "balance of nature" and "carrying capacity." Describing one or more typical food webs; use the example on the worksheet or other ones that students generate.
  3. Estimate the size of each population in the food web. Work backward from the secondary predator.
  4. Discuss what would happen if one organism in the food web were eliminated, reduced, or expanded.
  5. Divide students into work groups of 3-5. Have each group choose a different secondary predator and then work backward to create a food web.
  6. Have students discuss what would happen to their food web if the population of different organisms were eliminated, increased or decreased.
  7. Have students choose one of their scenerios to share with the class.
  8. Discuss as a whole group what kind of human or natural events might cause a change in one or several organisms in the food webs students create.

Materials/Resources: Wildlife Population Worksheet (pdf)

Assessments: Informal assessment of students understanding of the core concept and class participation.

Special Considerations: Emphasize that the population counts for this exercise are very broad estimates. The point can be made without detailed knowledge about the actual numbers of organisms to support the web.

If students are not too familiar with natural food webs they may need help identifying what certain organisms need as food.

Extension: Students may want to find actual quantitative data for the population counts that they have estimated.