SC.7.L.17.3

Describe and investigate various limiting factors in the local ecosystem and their impact on native populations, including food, shelter, water, space, disease, parasitism, predation, and nesting sites.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 7
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Big Idea: Interdependence -

A. Plants and animals, including humans, interact with and depend upon each other and their environment to satisfy their basic needs.

B. Both human activities and natural events can have major impacts on the environment.

C. Energy flows from the sun through producers to consumers.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002070: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2002080: M/J Comprehensive Science 2, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2000010: M/J Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
2000020: M/J Life Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
7820016: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
7920040: Fundamental Integrated Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2013 - 2015, 2015 - 2017 (course terminated))
2002200: M/J STEM Environmental Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.7.L.17.In.3: Recognize that living things compete with each other to get the things they need to live in their local environment.
SC.7.L.17.Su.3: Identify how a lack of food, water, or shelter affects plants and animals in their habitats.
SC.7.L.17.Pa.3: Recognize what happens when animals don’t get food and water.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

3D Modeling

Wind Farm Design Challenge:

This MyStemKits.com lesson is a problem-based learning activity aligned to Florida's math and science standards. In this middle-school engineering design challenge, students are asked to create the most efficient wind turbine while balancing cost constraints. Students will apply their knowledge of surface area and graphing while testing 3D-printed wind farm blades. In the end, students are challenged to design and test their own wind farm blades, using Tinkercad to model a 3D-printable blade.

Type: 3D Modeling

Educational Game

Bioaccumulation Relay-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will describe the process of bioaccumulation.

Type: Educational Game

Educational Software / Tool

What Is It Like Where You Live?:

This site offers an abundance of information on Earth's biomes (rainforest, tundra, taiga, desert, temperate, and grasslands), as well as marine and freshwater ecosystems. The site features relevant facts, pictures, maps, indigenous plants and animals, additional links, and much more.

This resource is a wonderful reference, not a lesson plan. Teachers will need to provide an objective and structure for student interaction with the website.

Type: Educational Software / Tool

Lesson Plans

Gr. 7 Lesson 3-Groundwater Pollution:

Students will be able to explain how aquifers can become polluted on the land surface and identify human impacts. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Remember the Axolotl:

Explore the axolotl, a Mexican salamander struggling to survive in a harsh environment filled with non-native species and abiotic factors that threaten its very existence! What does the future hold for these unique creatures? How are the limiting factors of their ecosystem actually limiting their chance for survival?

Type: Lesson Plan

Egg-Cellent Transport:

This lesson addresses the topic of limiting factors looking specifically at maintaining wildlife populations. There is an engineering design challenge included in which students will have to take on the role of a wildlife conservation officer and create a container for the egg of an endangered species that will protect it in the field until he/she can get it back to the lab.

Type: Lesson Plan

Water, Water Everywhere - Natural Disaster Water Filtration:

Students will be tasked with an engineering challenge to design an effective and efficient portable water filtration system. The designs will take dirty water and make it clear so it can be boiled for safe drinking. This lesson aligns to both math and science content standards.

Type: Lesson Plan

Medium Needed:

In this MEA, groups of students will evaluate the media for growing plants hydroponically in order to help restore some native species of the Everglades. Students will learn about hydroponics as an alternative agricultural practice, the rock cycle, types of landforms in Florida, and will use different methods to analyze data and arrive to conclusions, as well as present them in a detailed description of procedures and conclusions, including justification and evidence for each decision.

Type: Lesson Plan

Wolves of Yellowstone - Ecology & Human Impact:

In this MEA, students will decide how many wolves to introduce into Yellowstone National Park's ecosystem. The number of wolves could influence many factors, from the tourism industry to local farming businesses, as well as the populations of other species in the area. Students must choose to introduce the number of wolves they feel will be most beneficial to the preservation of Yellowstone National Park as determined by the mission statement of Yellowstone and the National Park Service.

Type: Lesson Plan

Fish Kribs:

In this lesson, students create a fish tank for a fish supply company for a future sales campaign. They will use scale drawings and proportions to design the perfect fish tank.

  • First, students have to complete a ranking activity of items that will be included in their scale drawing along with three types of fish.
  • Next, students will conduct a pH lab activity to gain knowledge about how pH levels will affect population and the ecosystem within the tank.
  • Finally, students will adjust their item selection and re-engineer their tank drawing to support their findings and additional information provided by the client. Students must determine what objects would be beneficial to the living things that the students chose in relation to available space and pH balance.

Type: Lesson Plan

Designing an Ecofriendly City:

In this STEM design project, students will design and build a 3D model of an ecofriendly community in an existing ecosystem, taking into account the organisms that live there and applying their knowledge of the ecosystem and the needs of the organisms living in it to preserve the biodiversity there. Students will build a 3D model using their understanding of scale and size, create an electronic presentation, and write a summary of their findings.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Ups and Downs of Populations:

Students will analyze population graphs, collect data to generate their own population graph, and experience limiting factors and their impact on carrying capacity in a small deer population. Students will be able to identify, explain, and evaluate the impact that different limiting factors have on the population of organisms including food, water, shelter, predation, human interference, changes in birth and death rate, changes in immigration and emigration, disease, and reproduction.

Type: Lesson Plan

Fiddler Factors: How Limiting Factors affect Fiddler Crab Populations:

Fiddler Factors is a lesson on limiting factors using fiddler crabs as the focus species. The lesson is designed for two class periods.

  • Day One is focused on introducing the concept of limiting factors. The lesson focuses on fiddler crabs, their needs, and the limiting factors that affect their populations. During this first class, students will brainstorm what factors could affect fiddler populations by brainstorming and working in small groups. This part of the lesson relies on a strategy called Think-Pair- Share to build a classroom list of factors that may limit fiddler populations.
  • Day Two is focused on student research either online or in texts as they try and discover what fiddler crabs need to survive and what limits their populations. This class period is divided roughly in half to allow student groups time to research a set of fiddler crab questions during the first half and then share information to build a classroom wide knowledge base on the topic.

Type: Lesson Plan

Slithering At Your Feet While You're Out Shopping:

In this lesson, students will explore why a rather large eastern diamondback rattlesnake decided to slither its way into a St. Augustine, FL neighborhood and right near a busy shopping outlet. Students will investigate how human impact can negatively affect the resources available to a native population and what may happen as a result. Students will make a logical hypothesis, make observations, analyze data, and draw factual conclusions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Florida Scrub Jays:

Learn about Florida scrub jay!

Type: Lesson Plan

Schoolyard Microhabitat:

This lesson is a physical survey of our school's microhabitat. Students will make quantitative and qualitative observations of the flora and fauna, as well as making notes on the biotic and abiotic elements within the area they are examining. Through the collection and organization of data, students will make assumptions as to the relationships between all components comprising the microhabitat, including limiting factors.

Type: Lesson Plan

“Wanted: Dead or Delicious”-The food chain of the Lion Fish:

This lesson is designed to get students to understand how a food chain works using an invasive species like the Lionfish. It is timely and students here on the Gulf Coast can relate to the problem.

Type: Lesson Plan

Limiting Factors: Give me my space!:

Through a hands on investigation, students will collect data to determine the impact of space as a limiting factor. Students will be introduced to another method for lab reports, Patty Squares.

Type: Lesson Plan

Biotic, abiotic. Alive or not?:

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the concept of biotic & abiotic factors, the elements that define an ecosystems, and how these become limiting factors in an ecosystem. The teacher will have a variety of teaching strategies to review the students' prior knowledge of their understanding of the organizational patterns and relationships that are found in any ecosystem. In addition, the teacher will combine different teaching methods (technology/multimedia/internet, art, laboratory experiment, note writing strategy, self formative assessment) to introduce and deliver the main topic of this lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Pizza Box Ecosystems:

A long-term project in which students create a labeled ecosystem diorama out of a recycled pizza box as they complete an introductory ecology unit.

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring the World Outdoors:

This lesson is designed for hands-on learning about how organisms are interdependent. Students will go exploring in their school yard identifying living and nonliving things. Students will be guided with a list of things to find, where they can take pictures or collect them to take back to the classroom for further exploration. Students will then research and organize their findings identifying organisms based on terms learned in class. They will create an iMovie, PowerPoint or poster and will then be present to the class.

Type: Lesson Plan

Pythons in the Everglades MEA:

In this MEA, students will investigate the introduction of a non-native, i.e. invasive, species to the Florida Everglades: the Burmese Python. Students will investigate the complex predator-prey relationship and learn why this could damage the ecosystem permanently. Students will analyze a set of data to determine which method of eradication would be best and most effective, considering factors such as cost, the amount of man-power necessary to implement it, the effect it would have on the python population, and its impact on other species.

Type: Lesson Plan

Zoo Animal Diets MEA:

In this MEA, students will examine the diets of a group of animals being kept in captivity at a local zoo. Something in the diets is causing some of the animals to become ill, while other animals remain completely healthy. Students will analyze the data to determine what is making the animals sick. Additionally, students will explore the idea of diet as a limiting factor.

Type: Lesson Plan

Levee Construction Company MEA:

Students will analyze a set of data to determine what type of construction material would be best to construct a levee out of. Students will consider not only cost, but also ecological impact and disturbances to the local community.

Type: Lesson Plan

Town Mosquito Eradication MEA:

Students will analyze a set of data to determine the best eradication technique for a town experiencing a mosquito infestation. Students will need to consider cost, impact on the environment, and effectiveness of the methods presented to them.

Type: Lesson Plan

Investigating Factors of Impact on Populations within Ecosystems:

This is one lesson within a 7th grade unit on interdependence, and could extend up to 2-3 days if extension activities are included. This lesson focuses on learning about limiting factors, understanding the basics regarding the three types of ecosystems in Florida, and how the introduction of non-native species can impact an ecosystem. Students will gain knowledge to help them learn to be proactive in conserving the resources of land, fresh water and marine ecosystems.

As a prelude to later sequential learning, predator and prey graphical representations will be created and analyzed (this will also address common misconceptions) and lay a foundation to introduce density independent and density dependent factors, which are explored further at higher grade levels.

Type: Lesson Plan

Learning Interdependence Through Florida's Ecosystems:

Students are assigned one of Florida's ecosystems and are guided through a series of lessons that cover SC.7.L.17.1, SC.7.L.17.2, SC.7.L.17.3, culminating in a project.

Type: Lesson Plan

How Competitive Are You?:

During this 3 day lesson, students will review a Powerpoint presentation, watch a short video, have discussions in groups, and enjoy competing as predators for their prey in an engaging activity. Students will gain a better understanding of adaptations, and what an animal needs to do to survive.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Human Population Growth Rate:

Just how quickly is the world's human population growing? In the US and other developed countries, the current growth rate is slow compared to some developing countries where it is speeding up. There are factors that slowed down this growth rate and there are similar factors that actually speed it up. Discussing and explaining the factors that determine the fluctuation in growth rate.

The US population growth between 1950 - 2000 is 7.5 times slower than that of India. In 1950 the US had a population of 80 million which increased every ten years with 1 million.

Type: Lesson Plan

Tomato Propagation/Cloning:

In this lesson, students will learn how to take a clipping from a mother tomato plant and make an exact duplicate copy for mass-reproduction that will produce a harvest quickly. This will engage students as they discover this can be done without seeds, and they can grow a plant about 2 feet in height!

Type: Lesson Plan

Ecology Lesson Part 4 of 4 - Jeopardy Review:

This review game is designed to be part 4 of a 4 part series covering Interdependence. The first two lessons are Powerpoints that go over the information in the game. The third lesson is a biomes lab activity. This can be used as a stand alone activity, however - just make sure that you preview the questions and have covered this material with your students before presenting it to the class.

Type: Lesson Plan

Survival Journal Part Three: Surviving the Epidemic: Planting Tomatoes:

This is a detailed lesson based on the germination of seeds, science vocabulary of plants, diseases, and insect infestations with tomato plants. Tomatoes grow nutrients that the human body needs to survive. It is a companion lesson to: Survival Journal Parts 1 and 2 available on CPALMS.

Type: Lesson Plan

Survival Journal Part Two: Outdoor Gardening:

In this lesson, students will design two outdoor gardens, 1) a raised garden bed and 2) a ground level garden (traditional). Students will, with help of the teacher, till the ground with removal of ground cover, build border for garden, add soil, attach poles with string to create a life size graph all so they can grow tomatoes and plot the data easily in their survival journals.This is Part 2 of a 4-Part Project on Survival.

Type: Lesson Plan

Global Warming - "Arctic Meltdown":

This activity gets the students involved in a controversial issue the world is facing. It gets them engaged in reading a higher level article several times over. Students will annotate the text and cite factual evidence directly from the text. In two days, they will have group discussions, watch a short video and read an article all while learning about global warming.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ecology Lesson Part 1 of 4:

This lesson is intended as the first part of a 4 part series. Part 1 is a powerpoint discussing terminology in Ecology including abiotic/biotic factors; symbiotic relationships [descriptions and examples of all 3]; producer/consumers; predator/prey; food chain;food web. Part 2 is a powerpoint that covers the biomes of the world and incorporates the terminology from part 1. Part 3 is a biomes lab activity, and Part 4 is a jeopardy review activity.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ecology Lesson Part 2 of 4 - Biomes Review:

This lesson is intended as part 2 of a 4 part lesson series. It is a PowerPoint that covers Biomes of the World, including their characteristics and different producers and consumers. It can be used as a stand alone lesson as well.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ecology Lesson Part 3 of 4 Animal Cracker - Biomes Lab Activity:

This is a fun lab activity to be used as part 3 of a 4 part series on Interdependence.  It can also be used as a stand alone activity. Animal crackers are used - they can be eaten at the end of the activity- so double check with your students about any food allergies (ie gluten).

Type: Lesson Plan

Survival Journal Part One: Surviving the Epidemic:

In this lesson, each student will explain and document in a science journal how they will over come a natural disaster/plague for 15 days. They will continue with part two of this lesson "Outdoor Gardening."

Type: Lesson Plan

Turkey Trouble:

Limiting factors are things that can limit the size of a population such as food, water, shelter, disease, nesting sites, predation, and parasitism. In this activity students will play a game to simulate changes in a turkey population and will learn about limiting factors.

Type: Lesson Plan

Disappearing Frogs: Percentage and Environment:

Students must explore and assess the implications various human and environmental factors are having on the yellow-legged frog population in California. Then, they must choose one avenue to attempt to help save these animals. Some options will work quickly, while others will take time to implement. However, the ones that take longer to implement are generally more likely to be effective for a longer period of time. Students will use knowledge of percentages to calculate population size and will complete research to explore the affects of human impact on the environment and the process of adaptation through natural and artificial selection.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson Study Resource Kit

Exploring Diversity and Evolution grades 6-8:

This toolkit is designed to assist lesson study teams as they work to develop a unit on natural selection that conforms to the NGSSS for science and the State Standards for mathematics and English language arts.

Type: Lesson Study Resource Kit

Original Student Tutorials

Limiting Factors in an Ecosystem:

Investigate various limiting factors in an ecosystem and their impact on native populations as you complete this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Limits to Population Growth:

Explore biotic and abiotic factors that can influence the growth of populations of organisms in this interactive tutorial. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Where Have All the Scrub-Jays Gone?:

Investigate the limiting factors of a Florida ecosystem and describe how these limiting factors affect one native population-the Florida Scrub-Jay-with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Fire and the Carbon Cycle:

In this video, fire ecologist Kevin Robertson explains the role of fire in the carbon cycle in fire-dependent ecosystems.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Deep Sea Ecosystems:

Sandra Brooke, from FSU Marine Lab, talks about undersea canyon ecosystems.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Statistical Sampling Results in setting Legal Catch Rate :

Fish Ecologist, Dean Grubbs, discusses how using statistical sampling can help determine legal catch rates for fish that may be endangered.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Histograms Show Trends in Fisheries Data Over Time:

NOAA Fishery management relies on histograms to show patterns and trends over time of fishery data.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Habitat Changes in Related to Phosphorous Pollution in the Everglades:

Watch as Dr. Stephen E. Davis, III explains how excess phosphorous pollution is impacting the Everglades.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Limiting Factors in Ecosystems:

Dr. Tom Miller describes limiting factors in ecosystems and interactions among organisms in specialized environments.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Using Statistics to Estimate Lionfish Population Size:

It's impossible to count every animal in a park, but with statistics and some engineering, biologists can come up with a good estimate.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Managing Lionfish Populations:

Invasive lionfish are taking a bite out of the ecosystem of Biscayne Bay. Biologists are looking for new ways to remove them, including encouraging recreational divers to bite back!

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiasts

Fishery Independent vs Dependent Sampling Methods for Fishery Management:

NOAA Scientist Doug Devries discusses the differences between fishery independent surveys and fishery independent surveys.  Discussion includes trap sampling as well as camera sampling. Using graphs to show changes in population of red snapper.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Light Reflection, Refraction, & Absorption:

How light reflection, refraction, and absorption impact fish activity.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Mean Data and Striking Deviations in Sea Turtle Research:

Dive in and learn about how statistics can be used to help research sea turtles!

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Perspectives Video: Teaching Ideas

Exchanging Fluids to Transmit Disease:

Once this contagious population interaction idea is out there in the wild, it will go viral.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Ephemeral Wetlands Teaching Resources:

Learn about wetlands and how they meet the needs of various inhabitants. Learn more about how to learn more at Remote Footprints.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Professional Development

A Sea Change:

This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills within their curriculum. This tutorial focuses on determining an author's purpose and point of view. The focus on literacy across content areas is designed to help students independently build knowledge in different disciplines through reading and writing.

Type: Professional Development

Resource Collection

Sea World Animal Resources:

This webpage offers an extensive collection of animal fact sheets and info books, photo galleries, expedition journals, and the "Ask Shamu" FAQs.

Type: Resource Collection

Teaching Ideas

Survival Factors - SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, the students will analyze the impact of humans on the coral reef ecosystem as a result of human social, political, and economic activities.

Type: Teaching Idea

Line Up for Recycling-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will be able to describe the sources of discarded monofilament fishing line and its hazard to wildlife. Students will plan a clean-up campaign in their area. As an option, students can carry out the campaign. During the campaign, students will document the procedure, record the amount of line collected and write a "planning book" to become a resource for others to use.

Type: Teaching Idea

Polar Opposites-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will be able to understand the effects of introducing geographically non-native species to a new environment.

Type: Teaching Idea

Local Species Science Fair-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will research protected plants and animals that live in their state and create a presentation about that species to share with others.

Type: Teaching Idea

Hot Polar Debate-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will research available literature for factual information and logically argue a point of view regarding environmental issues in an arctic climate. They will demonstrate real-life decision making processes and evaluate outcomes.

Type: Teaching Idea

Fur Seal Survey-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will be able to gather information, organize, analyze, and present data when given a current environmental situation. They will participate in a decision-making process.

Type: Teaching Idea

A Chance of Success-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will learn about the physical factors that limit where coral reefs develop.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Understanding Invasive Aquatic Plants:

This web resource provides students with an explanation of the differences between native, nonnative, and invasive plants, along with information on three of Florida's aquatic invasive plants--the water hyacinth, hydrilla, and alligatorweed. Through text questions and activities, students will learn how these plants can impair aquatic and wetland ecosystems and inhibit human uses of Florida waters. Readers will gain a greater understanding of how important it is to monitor and control invasive aquatic plants.

Type: Text Resource

Food Web Woes:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes two studies that show how the decline of large sharks has adverse effects on other organisms in their food web. The article explains that without apex predators like sharks, other large fish and rays tend to thrive and prey too heavily on shellfish populations.

Type: Text Resource

Native 'Snot':

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes how an algae species previously thought to be invasive is actually a "hidden" native species that blooms when environmental conditions change. It describes those conditions as well as the algae's ecological impact on other populations. The article concludes by connecting that human impact—climate change—is causing algae blooms to become more and more common.

Type: Text Resource

When a Species Can't Stand the Heat:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how global warming could leave New Zealand's tuatara (a reptile species) dangerously short on females. When the temperature rises as little as one degree, far more males than females are born. One island habitat is now 75% males, with fewer, frailer females. Without intervention, the tuatara could become extinct. The article offers some possible solutions, including having the colonies relocated to cooler islands.

Type: Text Resource

Why Are Bees Vanishing?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Not many people will say they like bees, but they are a very necessary part of our environment. Scientists are struggling to find an answer—and, hopefully, a solution—as to why so many bee colonies are vanishing. They believe there are several environmental factors that are killing these insects.

Type: Text Resource

Arctic Thaw is Spreading Wildlife Diseases:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the effect of melting ice in the Arctic Ocean on the spreading of parasitic diseases. The author explains how grey seals and ringed seals have contracted one particular disease due to the Arctic thaw and goes on to explain how Beluga whales north of Alaska have contracted a second disease, which can be spread to humans.

Type: Text Resource

Virginia Acts to Reduce Population of Wild Pigs, the ‘Most Invasive Animal’ in U.S.:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the extreme population growth and range expansion of wild pigs, as well as how this invasive animal is damaging local ecosystems.

Type: Text Resource

Endangered Species:

This site features information on endangered species as well as various organizations and laws pursuing their protection. It includes a list of acronyms, bibliography, index, and one classroom activity.

Type: Text Resource

Changing Seas:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This text explains how carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is changing the oceans. The text describes ocean acidification and ocean warming. The text gives examples of ecosystems that are changing as a result.

Type: Text Resource

Video/Audio/Animation

Impact of Nesting Behavior on Duckling Survival:

In this short video clip, ecologists Bill Hopkins and Sarah DuRant describe their study of wood ducks in order to better understand the impact of the mother's nesting behavior on her ducklings and their ability to survive.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Winn Bee Foraging Activity:

In this software simulation, students take on the role of bees and experiment with different foraging patterns in a field of flowers to maximize net energy input. Students generate quantitative data that can be analyzed and graphed.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Disappearing Frogs: Percentage and Environment:

Students must explore and assess the implications various human and environmental factors are having on the yellow-legged frog population in California. Then, they must choose one avenue to attempt to help save these animals. Some options will work quickly, while others will take time to implement. However, the ones that take longer to implement are generally more likely to be effective for a longer period of time. Students will use knowledge of percentages to calculate population size and will complete research to explore the affects of human impact on the environment and the process of adaptation through natural and artificial selection.

Fish Kribs:

In this lesson, students create a fish tank for a fish supply company for a future sales campaign. They will use scale drawings and proportions to design the perfect fish tank.

  • First, students have to complete a ranking activity of items that will be included in their scale drawing along with three types of fish.
  • Next, students will conduct a pH lab activity to gain knowledge about how pH levels will affect population and the ecosystem within the tank.
  • Finally, students will adjust their item selection and re-engineer their tank drawing to support their findings and additional information provided by the client. Students must determine what objects would be beneficial to the living things that the students chose in relation to available space and pH balance.

Levee Construction Company MEA:

Students will analyze a set of data to determine what type of construction material would be best to construct a levee out of. Students will consider not only cost, but also ecological impact and disturbances to the local community.

Medium Needed:

In this MEA, groups of students will evaluate the media for growing plants hydroponically in order to help restore some native species of the Everglades. Students will learn about hydroponics as an alternative agricultural practice, the rock cycle, types of landforms in Florida, and will use different methods to analyze data and arrive to conclusions, as well as present them in a detailed description of procedures and conclusions, including justification and evidence for each decision.

Pythons in the Everglades MEA:

In this MEA, students will investigate the introduction of a non-native, i.e. invasive, species to the Florida Everglades: the Burmese Python. Students will investigate the complex predator-prey relationship and learn why this could damage the ecosystem permanently. Students will analyze a set of data to determine which method of eradication would be best and most effective, considering factors such as cost, the amount of man-power necessary to implement it, the effect it would have on the python population, and its impact on other species.

The Human Population Growth Rate:

Just how quickly is the world's human population growing? In the US and other developed countries, the current growth rate is slow compared to some developing countries where it is speeding up. There are factors that slowed down this growth rate and there are similar factors that actually speed it up. Discussing and explaining the factors that determine the fluctuation in growth rate.

The US population growth between 1950 - 2000 is 7.5 times slower than that of India. In 1950 the US had a population of 80 million which increased every ten years with 1 million.

Town Mosquito Eradication MEA:

Students will analyze a set of data to determine the best eradication technique for a town experiencing a mosquito infestation. Students will need to consider cost, impact on the environment, and effectiveness of the methods presented to them.

Wolves of Yellowstone - Ecology & Human Impact:

In this MEA, students will decide how many wolves to introduce into Yellowstone National Park's ecosystem. The number of wolves could influence many factors, from the tourism industry to local farming businesses, as well as the populations of other species in the area. Students must choose to introduce the number of wolves they feel will be most beneficial to the preservation of Yellowstone National Park as determined by the mission statement of Yellowstone and the National Park Service.

Zoo Animal Diets MEA:

In this MEA, students will examine the diets of a group of animals being kept in captivity at a local zoo. Something in the diets is causing some of the animals to become ill, while other animals remain completely healthy. Students will analyze the data to determine what is making the animals sick. Additionally, students will explore the idea of diet as a limiting factor.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Limiting Factors in an Ecosystem:

Investigate various limiting factors in an ecosystem and their impact on native populations as you complete this interactive tutorial.

Limits to Population Growth:

Explore biotic and abiotic factors that can influence the growth of populations of organisms in this interactive tutorial. 

Where Have All the Scrub-Jays Gone?:

Investigate the limiting factors of a Florida ecosystem and describe how these limiting factors affect one native population-the Florida Scrub-Jay-with this interactive tutorial.

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorials

Limiting Factors in an Ecosystem:

Investigate various limiting factors in an ecosystem and their impact on native populations as you complete this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Limits to Population Growth:

Explore biotic and abiotic factors that can influence the growth of populations of organisms in this interactive tutorial. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Where Have All the Scrub-Jays Gone?:

Investigate the limiting factors of a Florida ecosystem and describe how these limiting factors affect one native population-the Florida Scrub-Jay-with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Using Statistics to Estimate Lionfish Population Size:

It's impossible to count every animal in a park, but with statistics and some engineering, biologists can come up with a good estimate.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Managing Lionfish Populations:

Invasive lionfish are taking a bite out of the ecosystem of Biscayne Bay. Biologists are looking for new ways to remove them, including encouraging recreational divers to bite back!

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Text Resources

Understanding Invasive Aquatic Plants:

This web resource provides students with an explanation of the differences between native, nonnative, and invasive plants, along with information on three of Florida's aquatic invasive plants--the water hyacinth, hydrilla, and alligatorweed. Through text questions and activities, students will learn how these plants can impair aquatic and wetland ecosystems and inhibit human uses of Florida waters. Readers will gain a greater understanding of how important it is to monitor and control invasive aquatic plants.

Type: Text Resource

Endangered Species:

This site features information on endangered species as well as various organizations and laws pursuing their protection. It includes a list of acronyms, bibliography, index, and one classroom activity.

Type: Text Resource

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Perspectives Video: Experts

Using Statistics to Estimate Lionfish Population Size:

It's impossible to count every animal in a park, but with statistics and some engineering, biologists can come up with a good estimate.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Managing Lionfish Populations:

Invasive lionfish are taking a bite out of the ecosystem of Biscayne Bay. Biologists are looking for new ways to remove them, including encouraging recreational divers to bite back!

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert