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Author

Crash Course

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, Biology, Geography, Mathematics

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - South

Population Ecology: The Texas Mosquito Mystery

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Synopsis
  • This video uses the example of the West Nile virus outbreak in Dallas, TX to explain population ecology.
  • Topics discussed in this video include ecology, population growth rates, density-dependent and density-independent factors, limits on populations, carrying capacity, and a demonstration of how to calculate population growth rates.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video includes graphs and visual aids that help boost comprehension. 
  • This resource contains a table of contents for easily finding information within the video and also includes links to references. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may be helpful to periodically pause the video to ensure comprehension, since a lot of vocabulary and information is presented at a fast pace. 

Differentiation

  • Math classes could use the formula presented in the video to practice calculating population growth examples in other species and for discussing the difference between logistic and exponential growth models. 
  • Classes could visit the articles referenced within the site to learn more about the West Nile virus outbreak and could then use their new learning from this video to discuss other virus outbreaks, such as COVID-19.
  • This Crash Course video on human population growth is referenced at the end of the video and could serve as a follow-up lesson that connects to species extinctions and ecosystem declines happening today. 
  • Consider having students also watch the Crash Course videos on ecosystem ecology and community ecology in order to compare and contrast them with this one. 
  • Other resources on this topic include this video about two tick-borne diseases and this TED-Ed video about the threat of invasive species. 
Scientist Notes
Students are given an overview of population ecology, population growth, limiting constraints, and carrying capacity in the video. The teaching resource is advised because it does not contain any scientific misconceptions.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-1 Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the 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.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
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