Lesson Plan Template: Learning Cycle (5E Model)
Learning Objectives: What will students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students will understand that there are multiple factors that can be used to describe a population. They will understand that scientists use observation to draw conclusions but the validity of both the observation and the inferences depend on the quality of the data collected.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students should know that a population is a group of organisms of the same species that live in the same place at the same time.
Students should have a basic knowledge of different ways to display knowledge (bar graph, pie chart, line graph, etc).
Students should remember the basic life stages of a frog: egg - tadpole - adult and that bigger tadpoles of the same species are older than much smaller tadpoles.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What is a population?
- How can a population be described?
- What can you infer about a population from these characteristics?
- How do you know these inferences or conclusions are valid?
Engage: What object, event, or questions will the teacher use to trigger the students' curiosity and engage them in the concepts?
Have Slide 1 from the PowerPoint presentation (Describing a Population.pptx) displayed as students walk in the classroom.
Also, have the call of the ornate chorus frog playing while students are walking into the classroom. Navigate to this website (https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/Frogquiz/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.lookup) and select Ornate Chorus Frog under Common Name then click Submit. The sound file is 30 seconds long so you may choose to press play a few times or play the file one time once everyone is seated.
Pass out the Data Collection Worksheet.docx. Give students 5-10 minutes to read the handout, think, and record their answer. This activity can be done individually or in small groups (the worksheet is written as a group exercise so you will need to change "Names" to "Name" if you do this individually). After the 5-10 minutes, guide students into thinking about populations in terms of the basic characteristics by asking students to raise their hands to the following questions:
- Why would the number of ornate chorus frogs in the pond be important?
- Would the number of male versus female frogs matter? Why?
- Why would the number of individuals in each age group/life stage be important?
- Would the density of the population be important?
- Does the distribution within the wetland matter?
Spend 5-10 minutes discussing what other aspects of the ornate chorus frog population students wanted to know. Dispel any misconceptions about how they might describe a population.
You can collect worksheets and further review as a formative assessment while students work on the next activity (Explore).
Explore: What will the students do to explore the concepts and skills being developed through the lesson?
Display Slide 2 from the Powerpoint Presentation (data sheet slide). Spend 5-10 minutes discussing all the information about a population that the data sheet displays. Ask: What information about the ornate chorus frog is the biologist gathering?
- The number of eggs
- The number of larvae based on two sizes
- The number of adults present at each wetland
- The sex of each adult from each wetland
- All the above information for 6 different locations within the wetland
Students may also say size of wetland which is not an aspect of the ornate chorus frog population but can be used to describe an aspect of the population (density).
Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one of the below characteristics of a population. Depending on class size and desired group size, options may be assigned to more than one group. Give students 15 minutes to create a display that depicts the different aspects of the population:
- Total number of individuals in the population (use eggs, larvae, and adults) and sex ratio (2 characteristics)
- Density of the population. Students will need to calculate area of the wetland based on the circumference. If needed, provide the following information or provide a way for students to look up the information r=C/2π and A=π r2
- Age structure using eggs, small larvae, large larvae, and adults as the age classes
- Distribution - how are the frogs distributed in the wetland? Are they all in one place, scattered evenly around? Does the distribution vary by age class?
Walk around the groups assisting where necessary. Remind students about the different ways data can be presented (bar graph, pie chart, line graph, diagram, etc.). Explain that scientist use these types of diagrams as ways to clearly visualize data in ways that simple charts sometimes cannot. Draw examples on the board if needed. Some population characteristic displays will be more elaborate than others. Total number of individuals and density of the population will just be a number but students may get creative in terms of how to create the display.
Explain: What will the students and teacher do so students have opportunities to clarify their ideas, reach a conclusion or generalization, and communicate what they know to others?
Have groups share their displays and what they learned about their aspect of the population. Depending on the length of the class, this activity may need to be continued on the next day. Did the diagrams of all the characteristics allow a more clear visualization of the data or did some lend themselves more to diagramming than others?
Use slides 3 -13 of the PowerPoint (Describing a Population.pttx) to review and further emphasize all the ways we can describe a population and to examine how scientists use observations to infer about the population.
Elaborate: What will the students do to apply their conceptual understanding and skills to solve a problem, make a decision, perform a task, or make sense of new knowledge?
Pass out the Describe a Population Worksheet as homework. Students will read an article and use the data provided to write a two-page paper describing amphibian populations between two different habitat types. Students also will also use the data to draw conclusions about the two different populations. If there is time still left in the class period, they can begin work on this assignment.
A final review of the concepts covered in this lesson plan can be discussed when the graded papers are handed back to students.
Answers for Describe a Population Worksheet table is provided in Describe a Population Teachers Guide (Table answers).pdf
Students read an article and use tables to compare populations of amphibians from two different habitat types (see Elaborate section for details). A grading rubric is provided with this homework assignment (Describe a Population Worksheet.docx).
Teacher will conduct a think and share activity in the beginning of class (details in the Engage section). Students will work individually or in small groups to identify the information they need to describe a population of ornate chorus frogs. The teacher will then ask the class to share their answers in order to assess how much students understand about the characteristics of populations. Do the students mention needing to know the number of individuals? The age of individuals? Most students may not realize you can tell the difference between sexes in adult frogs so chances are students will not suggest that they will identify whether the adult frogs are male or female.
Students will work in groups to create a graphic representation of an assigned characteristic of a population. Students will share what they learned about their assigned characteristic of a population.
Feedback to Students
Students will receive feedback throughout the lesson. During the Engage and Explore activities, students can assess their understanding based on their and other students' responses and the subsequent teacher-led discussion. Students also will receive feedback when explaining the data they display and what it means in relation to the population. Students can then use the feedback from class and apply it to their individual project (Elaborate exercise).
The final feedback comes from the summative assessment (the grading of the individual project).