Biology Lessons Part 2: Population Biology


 Lesson 2.3: Chaparral Community

Alternative Ideas

 Issue Naive Idea* Scientific Idea
Interconnectedness Some species live independently. All animal species are dependent on other life forms for their survival. Species are highly interdependent.
Harmony Organisms live in harmony. Organisms compete with one another for resources and struggle to survive.
Continuity Life is continuing today as it has in the past. We are currently in the midst of the sixth major extinction of life on earth. Major extinctions typically eliminate 50-95% of all species.
Population A population consists of all organisms living in a given geographical area. A community consists of all organisms living in a given geographical area. A population is a group of interbreeding organisms.

* A misconception or alternative idea has three primary features: it is a cognitive idea that differs in a significant way from the scientific idea, it is held by a sizable proportion of the population, and it is notably resistant to being taught away; it is often described as a conceptual primitive (Clement, 1982). There are many other types of errors in understanding besides misconceptions (Fisher & Lipson, 1986).

Clement, J. (1982). Students' preconceptions in introductory mechanics. American Journal of Physics, 50 (1), 66 - 71.

Fisher, K. M. & Lipson, J. I. (1986). Twenty questions about student errors. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 23 (9), 783-803.