Bighorn Sheep: Will they survive? (October Crowell)
(1) Students will investigate the use of matrices in population models.
(2) Students will determine expected number of species after a given number of population cycles. (The Leslie Model)
This activity focuses on using matrices in population models. It is best integrated after students have been exposed to matrices operations and more basic problems involving the Leslie Model.
Many times when a certain species of animal is in danger of extinction in a specific area, biologists will conduct a study of the species to determine whether or not it will survive in that area. In this activity we will be looking at the Bighorn Sheep and applying what we know about matrices to determine the fate of these sheep in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
(1) Introduce the problem to the students
(2) Have students work through the problem in small groups.
(3) Be sure to encourage students to show all steps they used to arrive at their solution as well as write out their trend statement.
(4) Each group should present their solution and statement.
(5) Discuss students' solutions and statements as a class.
"Bighorn Sheep: Will they survive?" activity sheet
Introduction (5 min), Group work (20 min), Class discussion (20 min)
Discrete Mathematics Concepts
Matrices, The Leslie Population Model
Related Mathematics Concepts
NCTM Standards Addressed
Problem Solving, Communication, Reasoning, Connections, Algebra, Statistics, Discrete Mathematics
Colorado Model Content Standards Addressed
Number Sense (1), Algebraic Techniques (2), Problem Solving Techniques (5), Linking Concepts and Procedures (6)
This activity could be integrated into an Advanced Algebra class after basic matrix operations are introduced and the Leslie Model is introduced. It could also be integrated in a unit on statistics in any class that has studied matrix operations.
Students could investigate the population trends of people in certain areas over periods of time, or do research on another endangered species they are interested in.
Colorado State Content Standards. Colorado Department of Education.
Crisler, N., Fisher, P., & Froelich, G. (1994). Discrete mathematics across the curriculum, K-12, Reston, VA; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, (1989). Curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA; Author.