Biology Lessons Part 2: Population Biology

 

Lesson 2.7: How Do Populations Grow?

Alternative Ideas

Issue Naive Idea Scientific Idea
Population A population is a group of organisms of various types living in a given geographical area. A population is a group of interbreeding individuals that share the same gene pool ­ that is, a species or a subset of a species.
Community A community is a group of interbreeding individuals that share the same gene pool. A community is a group pf organisms of various types living together in a given geographical area.
Population Growth Continued population growth is progress. [this is actually apolitical idea]
The hyper-exponential growth of the human population is a serious source of concern for the planet.
Ecosystem Each type of organism in the world can be considered individually, and its success or failure will not affect other types of organisms. Within an ecosystem, each type of organism has direct or indirect effects on every other organism that is present in that ecosystem.
Human Survival Human beings are exempt from the rules of nature ­ that is, humans can not become extinct. Homo sapiens is subject to the same rules as other species ­ that is, humans can become extinct.
Exponential Growth Exponential growth means doubling each generation.
Exponential growth is a mode of growth in which a population changes by a fixed proportion (rate) in each unit of time; characteristic of population growth.

* 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.