Ecosystems unit

What keeps an ecosystem in balance? Students begin with a simple predator-prey model to consider who eats whom—and what happens when one population grows faster than the others. After visiting a local nature preserve and learning more about a local ecosystem, students develop their own models of rabbits and coyotes, bark beetles and pinon trees or other ecosystem interactions.

The primary goal of this unit is to engage students in simple interactive activities to explore ecosystems concepts, and in the use, modification, and creation of agent-based models to conduct experiments on simple virtual ecosystems.

Partners and Sponsors: National Science Foundation, Valles Caldera National Preserve.

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