Today we calculated the growth of the ferret population based on a 70% mortality rate the first year, a 60% survival rate for the first 4 years with a decreasing survival rate from 5 to 7 years. It was awesome. The lesson plan was extremely clear and the kids had a blast working out the population growth over 5 years.
They used the calculator on the iPad and tomorrow they will create a conclusion based on the data on one of the note taking apps. What they noticed is simply the ferret population did not grow anywhere as fast as the human population.
In the late afternoon, we started watching a video on Denali National Park in Alaska. It was a cool video and the kids really liked it but the important part of the video came when the person was discussing bears. The kids found out that the average lifespan of a bear is 20 years but they sometimes live longer than that. In addition, there is a 70% mortality rate for new born bears! Yes, the same, so the kids now have a connection with another animal that has the same mortality rate!
This gave me the idea to have students choose an Alaskan animal and research it to find out how long they live, mortality rates at various ages, size of litters or births and survival rates at various ages so they can calculate populations for certain animals.
I was so excited to hear the mortality rates are similar. The kids were wowed by the new found information and it leads to another project. Perhaps I can transfer this information into my Algebra 2 class when we look at population growth equations. I have a card for the Dept of Wildlife so I can e-mail them for addition information to help with that section. Yeah!!!!!!