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Inquiries in Science®: Analyzing Population Growth

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In this laboratory activity, students model how the population of a bird species changes over time. They explore and build several mathematical models of population growth and generate J- and S-shaped population curves. Students then analyze the effects of resource quality on population by investigating the response of yeast culture growth to changes in environment. Materials are sufficient for 30 students working in groups of 3.

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  • Explore concepts of population growth and carrying capacity
  • Practice microbiology techniques
  • Use a simulation to explore the growth of a bird population over several generations

In this laboratory activity, students model how the population of a bird species changes over time. They explore and build several mathematical models of population growth and generate J- and S-shaped population curves. Students then analyze the effects of resource quality on population by investigating the response of yeast culture growth to changes in environment, developing connections with the key concepts of logistic and exponential growth and carrying capacity. As a capstone exercise, students grow plate cultures and use them to test their own hypotheses on the effects of light intensity, nitrate, glucose, or lactose on yeast population growth. Materials are sufficient for 30 students working in groups of 3.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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