9. Hare and Lynx Populations

Once students understand the concept of populations, it is important to introduce the idea of population change. There are many reasons for population change – limited resources, predator-prey cycles, human impact, habitat change – to name but a few. In this activity, students learn to graph population data and then use their graphs to evaluate one of the most famous examples of population change, the predator-prey population cycle of the snowshoe hare and the Canada lynx. The data is taken from the 300 years worth of real data collected by trappers of the Hudson Bay Company. This activity provides students a chance to look at real data and make some hypotheses about what causes population change in the real world. The Going Further section is more extensive than for other lesson plans on this site and refers teachers to many excellent population change activities that can be found in other curriculum guides.

Can define population.
Can graph changes in a population over time.
Can interpret graphs and identify causes of population change.
Can see how available resources determine the number and type of organisms that environment can support.

Population change

9. Hare and Lynx - Logistics

9. Hare and Lynx - Background

9. Hare and Lynx - Getting Ready

9. Hare and Lynx - Lesson Plan

9. Hare and Lynx - Assessments

9. Hare and Lynx - Sources and Standards