Wolf Vs. Sheep - Preview

Wolf Vs. Sheep

Subject: Biology,Environmental Science
Time: 1-2 (45 minute) class period

High School General Biology

Lesson Overview

They will look at single population of organisms and investigate how population growth is influenced by limiting factors such as resources. Using this NetLogo model they will be able to visualize some of the factors that lead to the formation of a carrying capacity for organism within a defined area. Students will then simulate how carrying capacity is affected by the introduction of a predator to the system and will also be able to see the dynamic interaction between these two organisms over the course of a large time scale.

Student Outcomes

Knowledge (Students will ...)

  • Understand what a computational model represents.

  • Know what parameters to adjust to discover key relationships/answer questions.

  • Know what behavior to expect in the real world and know how this should be represented in the model.

Skills (Students will be able to...)

  • run and manipulate the model (e.g., agent models, system dynamics models, and production system models).

  • Interpret results.

  • evaluate how well the inputs and outputs do or do not reflect real world situations.

  • identify approximations that are deal-breakers and what degree of accuracy matters for the model to be useful.

  • evaluate the appropriateness of the way time is modeled.

Epistemologies (Students will understand that...)

  • A lot of science is about modeling but sometimes mathematical models or diagrammatic models can only get you so far. When you have complex or large scale or poorly understood phenomena, creating computational models can be one of the most effective way to understand or think about them.

  • Just like I can run an experiment in the real world to test a hypothesis I can also run a virtual experiment. (Just like a real world experiment I need to understand the limitations – under assessment of models)

  • Understand the limitations and affordances of a computational model that is an intentionally approximate representation of reality. All models are approximations of reality, but computational models have different ways that they’re approximate. It can be tempting to overestimate the power of a computational model because it sometimes has dynamic visualizations, but this is misleading.

  • Understand the implementation of time in the model

Compatible With




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Next Generation Science Standards
  • Life Science
    • [HS-LS2] Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • NGSS Crosscutting Concept
    • Systems
    • Stability and Change
  • NGSS Practice
    • Using Models

Computational Thinking in STEM
  • Modeling and Simulation Practices
    • Assessing Computational Models
    • Using Computational Models to Understand a Concept
  • Data Practices
    • Creating Data

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