This module was created for grades 8-12, but may be adapted to the college level. Soil ecologists are interested in the ways that soil organisms interact and affect each other. One important relationship is that of predator and prey. In this module, students define the terms predator and prey and identify examples from soil ecology. They are introduced to the concept of a mathematical model so that they can identify situations where one may be useful. Students will create a hypothesis about how prey numbers will affect a predator population, then use a given mathematical model to perform calculations that will either support or refute their hypothesis. This activity also involves creating and interpreting a graph of results.
In the second part of the module, students are invited to download and interact with Netlogo, free online modeling software. A simple model adapted to soil ecology predator-prey is provided below, but Netlogo has an extensive library of models available to play with in many areas. A worksheet to guide inquiry is provided.
Presentation, Worksheet, and Netlogo Model Files:
Predator-Prey in Soil Presentation
Predator-Prey in Soil Worksheet (.docx) (.pdf)
Predator-Prey in Soil Answer Key (.pdf)
Netlogo Worksheet (.docx) (.pdf)
Bacteria-Protozoa Netlogo File (.nlogo)
Materials Needed: Worksheet, calculator, pencil, ruler (and for second part, computer)
Predator-Prey in Soil Module in Action:
For further information, please contact:
NIMBioS, 1122 Volunteer Blvd., Suite 106