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Species & Population Ecology Unit



This comprehensive bundle provides an introduction to population ecology, limiting factors, carrying capacity, age structure diagrams, and speciation that is perfect for a high school Environmental Science or Biology course.

All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL for efficient use in class or for distance learning.

PLEASE NOTE: This unit is part of my Full Environmental Science Curriculum.

What’s included?

  • 9 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • 1 PowerPoint (20 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 3 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • 2 web-quests with corresponding student pages for independent learning
  • 2 pages of my popular Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom
  • 3 Activities: Endangered Species Research Project, R v. K Strategists Card Sort, Deer Ecology Population Analysis
  • 6 Extension Pages: 2 Digging Deeper extensions for critical thinking (Speciation, Is There a Human Carrying Capacity?), 1 Real-Life Scenario (The Speciation of the Ozarks’ Collared Lizard), 3 Data Analysis extensions focusing on math skills and interpretation of graphs (Interspecific Competition, Barnacle Geese Population, Age Structure Diagrams)
  • 1 quiz through Google Forms for automatic online grading
  • 12 editable task cards for a quick and easy unit review
  • Editable unit test with multiple-choice and short-answer questions (in both honors and regular versions)
  • Supplementary Resource Ideas: links and videos for additional explanation or exploration
  • Answer keys and grading rubrics for all student pages


What topics are included in this unit?


  • Definition of species
  • Endangered v. threatened species
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Speciation (behavioral, mechanical, temporal, geographic)
  • Interspecific competition

Populations and Population Ecology

  • Linear v. exponential growth
  • Logistic growth
  • S curve v. J curve
  • Limiting factors (density-dependent and density-independent)
  • Carrying capacity
  • Natality, fecundity, fertility, mortality, life expectancy
  • Survivorship curves (Types 1, 2, & 3)
  • R strategists v. K strategists
  • Age Structure Diagrams (Population Pyramids)


The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at [email protected].

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-ESS3-1, HS-ESS3-4, HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-ETS1-1. Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.


*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*


What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 3.2: K-selected and R-selected Species
  • 3.3: Survivorship Curves
  • 3.4: Carrying Capacity
  • 3.5: Population Growth and Resource Availability
  • 3.6: Age Structure Diagrams
  • 3.7: Total Fertility Rate
  • 3.8: Human Population Dynamics
  • 5.1: Impacts of Urbanization
  • 8.2: Human Impacts on Ecosystems
  • 9.9: Endangered Species
  • 9.10: Human Impacts on Biodiversity

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


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