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In this lesson, students will conduct a simulation to explore the effects predator-prey interactions on population size. Then, students will identify limiting factors and design an experiment on limiting factors and plant growth. Students will:

  • simulate and explain predator-prey interactions.

  • explain how limiting factors affect population dynamics.

  • differentiate between density-dependent limiting factors and density-independent limiting factors.

  • design an experiment on the effects of limiting factors on seedling growth.

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  • Carrying Capacity: The largest number of individuals in a population that an environment can support.

  • Exponential Growth: A population growth pattern in which individuals reproduce at a constant rate.

  • Logistic Growth: A population growth pattern in which the growth rate slows down or stops after a period of exponential growth.

  • Predator: An organism that kills and eats other organisms.

  • Prey: An organism that is killed and eaten by another organism.

  • Limiting Factors: Factors that regulate population growth.

  • Density-Dependent Limiting Factors: Limiting factors that depend on population size.

  • Density-Independent Limiting Factors: Limiting factors that affect all populations in similar ways, regardless of population size.


75–90 minutes/2 class periods

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