Population Ecology Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Populations change all the time and certain scientists study these changes. Your students will enjoy learning about population ecology as they watch a video and create population ecologist flipbooks.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define ecology and population ecology
  • Identify types of population factors
  • Describe changes in population growth in an ecosystem


1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • HS-LS2-8. Evaluate evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species' chances to survive and reproduce.
  • HS-LS4-6. Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.


  • Computer with projector
  • Copies of the lesson quiz
  • Printer paper cut in quarters
  • Colored pencils
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch


  • Start the lesson by telling your students that there are multiple populations in every ecosystem since every species has its own population within an ecosystem. There are many factors that determine how well the species thrives in the ecosystem.
  • Tell your students that one set of circumstances are grouped together in what is known as population ecology. Continue with telling them they are going to learn about population ecology as they watch the Population Ecology: Definition, Theory, & Model video.
  • Play the video for your students and pause it for periodic discussions about the content of the video.
  • Start the video from the beginning and pause it the first time at 0:44. Then, ask and discuss the following as a class:
    • What is a population?
    • What is population ecology?
    • What are population ecologists studying?
    • What is a metapopulation?
  • Continue playing the video and pause it again at 1:30. Now, ask and discuss the following as a class:
    • What is distribution?
    • What is abundance?
    • What is density in regards to population?
    • What affect does age ratio have on a population?
    • What is sex ratio and why does it matter to population ecologists?
  • Continue playing the video again and pause it one last time at 3:08 to ask and discuss the following as a class:
    • How are immigration and emigration related to each other?
    • How does the exponential growth model compare to the logistic growth model?
    • What is carrying capacity?
    • Why does it matter when studying a population?
  • Play the rest of the video for your students and answer any questions they may have at this point.

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