Predation vs. Starvation

Essential Question:

A forest population of rabbits has no predators and the forest is too remote for hunters. Is it better to let nature take its course with the rabbit population or should predators (coyotes) be introduced into the forest?

Clear Targets:

Identify predator/prey relationships and how they may or may not impact one another.
Examine the changes that populations undergo to keep a balance in the ecosystem.
Create a graph illustrating population changes in a predator/prey relationship.

Calculate population changes using the standard algorithm.


Math Standard:

4.NBT.A.1 – Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right.
4.NBT.A.2 – Read and write multi-digit whole numbers
4.NBT.B.4 – Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm

Science Standard:

GLE 0407.2.1 – Analyze the effects of changes in the environment on the stability of an ecosystem
CFU0407.2.1 – Analyze how an increase or decrease in competition or predation affects an ecosystem

Pre-requisite knowledge:

Competition activity (directions attached)
Food web chart/drawing (attached)
Place Value game
Ordering Numbers Game
Adding/subtracting practice (downloadable at bottom of page)

Challenge Question:

How do we ethically manage the deer population in Montgomery County?

Close Read:‘tis-season-deer-and-autos-collide


competition, food web, food chain, balance, ecosystem, predation, starvation, predator, prey
Place value, adding, subtracting, regrouping, sum, difference, change


predation vs. starvation activity page/graph/questions, posters, post-it notes (2 colors), formative assessment math task


TTW guide students through oral review of predator, prey, food webs, and competition. TTW ask students to think about the essential question (go over the word remote) and take a stance.
Rabbits are better off with the wolves
Rabbits are worse off with the wolves
Rabbits are the same with the wolves
TSW write their initial prediction down on a post-it note and place it on the appropriate poster. TTW break students into heterogeneous groups based on their predictions.
TSW explain to their groups why they made their prediction.
TTW guide students through predation vs. starvation activity. TTW close read introduction with students. TTW guide students through the first three calculations in the rabbit population change.
TSW work with shoulder partner on the next three rabbit population change calculations. TTW go over shoulder partner answers whole group. TSW complete last four rabbit population change calculations whole group. TSW show work using the standard algorithm in the space provided.
TTW guide students through graphing the first three calculations on the graph provided. TSW work with shoulder partners graphing the next three calculations. TSW work independently graphing the last four calculations. TTW discuss the graph with students focusing on trends and changes between the years.
TSW answers analysis questions 1-8 independently. TTW discuss student answers whole group.


TTW ask students to go back to their beginning prediction. TSW decide if they still believe that prediction or if they have changed their mind. TSW use a different color post it note to take their new stance and place it on the appropriate poster. TSW once again justify why their prediction changed or did not change within their groups.

Formative Assessment:

TSW complete a math task based on the predation vs. starvation activity. (Attached)

Additional Resources:
An interactive website showing population changes.
Additional close read (can be shortened if needed)

Downloadable Resources:

Source: Teacher Created for Summer 2015 STEM Trainings, 4th Grade