“We did not weave the web of life.
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves” (Valentine, 2007)
Perched on top of a multitude of diverse flavors is a yellow-speckled cream-colored favorite. In the populous of diversely tantilizing flavors, only this one has the ability to satisfy. How many popcorn-flavored gourmet jelly beans are there in a bag I wonder? A count of each flavor would take some time. However, I could sort a percentage of jellybeans into rows to make a picture that will quickly assess how many of my favorite are likely to be in a bag. In the same way, the diverstiy of species within an area at a specied time can be accounted for. It is not so easy to line up organisms or plants as jellybeans, but an estimate of each type placed in a graph would give a fitting picture of the life within the space. Three criteria must be defined -- first, what is the population(s) secondly, what is the time frame, and third the area to be measured. Therefore population is defined by the number of entities with a given area, in a specified time.
For example, if we confine our research to humans on the earth, in the last fifty years, we will find this population has grown quickly and considerably. The human population has mutlipled expontentiallyAn estimate of humans on earth in1988 is 51.04 billion. The expodential growth rate since that time has been estimated at 1.5% per year, greatest at just over 2% in the early 1960’s. At the turn of century, six billion humans hovering around a 1% increase per year since 1990, have graced the planet. The human population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. (TakingItGlobal, 2008). These figures are staggering to imagine, informative in a table and best represented pictorially in a graph. Students who are knowledgeable about their environment are more likely to make intelligent choices that contribute to world health (Guthrie, 2005).
Graphs are effective visual tools to portray data and show trends because they present data quickly and informatively. Just like knowing how many popcorn-flavored jellybeans are in the bag for me to enjoy, students need to have a working knowledge of populations to make informed decisions in the future. This unit will take students through the steps of interpreting, creating, and analyzing population data displays.
New Haven Biology curriculum-embedded tasks are formative assessments designed to determine if students have grasped and can apply curricular materials. The focus of this unit is to provide teachers with methods and activity that will help the student establish connections to the curriculum and enhance both learning and application of the state mandated embedded task on human population dynamics. This task follows the population’s unit required yeast and molasses lab where students discover the conditions that affect population growth. The Human Population Dynamics embedded task calls for a student-made graphic presentation comparing developed and underdeveloped countries based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s population pyramids.
In this unit, students will also learn that graphs often portray more than one kind of information. The student will discover how to tell a story in a picture, manipulate a graphic display to tell another story, and utilize his or her own design to deliver a message. The lessons lead the student up to a practiced understanding of what a graph can represent and how to decipher the designer’s message. The activities, intended to develop the many ways that data can be displayed will emphasize the value of graphic displays with respect to population dynamics. The lessons will also help the student to understand how to read and interpret graphic displays while exploring the way that populations grow and change.