Population Estimates: Bringing Math and Science Together

Population Estimates: Bringing Math and Science Together

During this activity students will learn how to estimate population size using two techniques, density extrapolation and the mark-recapture method.

Context for Use

Project EXTREMES lessons were written to be stand alone lessons but can be incorporated into a larger unit.

Flock of birds landing at Elkhorn Slough.

Flock of birds landing at Elkhorn Slough. Photo credit: dondj2

Goals Header
What Students Will Do

  • Students will apply two techniques, density extrapolation and mark and recapture, to estimate the size of populations.
  • Students will identify the assumptions made when estimating the size of a population.

Materials

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Description

  • Part 1 – Engage (5 minutes) What is population and why is it important?

Students define the term “population” and discuss reasons why knowing population size is important.

  • Part 2 – Explore (15 minutes) Average Population Density 

Students estimate a population size using the population density method.

  • Part 3 – Explore and elaborate (40 minutes) The Mark-Recapture Method 

Students estimate a population size using the mark-recapture method.

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