Theory Play Share & Discuss

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Teach Population Size
with Climate Pursuit

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Theory

Climate Change and Populations

Learn how population sizes are influenced by climate change! You also get to continue playing Climate Pursuit!

Teacher Resources

  • Theory: Population size and climate change.
  • Play: Students continue playing Climate Pursuit, attempting to save their species from climate change with movement and evolution.
  • Share & Discuss: These questions focus on climate change and the playing experience.

Population Size

  • A population is a group of individuals (members of a single species) who live together in the same habitat and are likely to interbreed. (source)
  • The science of population dynamics studies changes in populations. Changes can have a variety of reasons, such as reproductive success, sickness, loss of habitat due to human action and climate change.
  • Change in population size: (Births + Immigration) - (Deaths + Emigration)
  • When food is abundant and growing conditions are favorable, a population has the potential to increase in number from generation to generation until it reaches the limits of its environment (the carrying capacity of its habitat).

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Climate Change and Wildlife

  • Most species on Earth are impacted by climate change. Some species benefit while others suffer. On the whole, climate change is incredibly harmful to all life on Earth, including humans. (source)
  • Greenhouse gases have additional negative effects: they can directly change animal and plant physiology, and cause health issues (both for humans and wildlife).
  • The greatest sources of human-produced greenhouse gases are burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. (source)

Gameplay screenshot

Teacher Resources

Play

Lesson Goal

  • Complete the game by playing as the bird.
  • Then, complete the game as the plant.
  • If you win the game as both species, look for information online on species that have changed due to global warming. Have they changed in the evolutionary sense? Has their population or distribution been affected?

Gameplay screenshot

How to Play

Click on Play! to start the game.

Gameplay screenshot

Click Start.

Gameplay screenshot

Select your desired species by clicking on them to begin.

Gameplay screenshot

Gameplay Tips

  • Be careful and mindful of where the cities are. Urban areas are highly beneficial for the rodents and lethal for plant seeds. Birds can cross long distances with cities, but this can also freeze them to death.
  • The plant is difficult and somewhat random, so don't be discouraged if you need to restart!
  • It can sometimes be a great strategy to stay still for a turn or two, especially if you are not in danger of dying from heat and/or need to increase your numbers. This is a typical case after you've just evolved a new subspecies.

Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • Did you win the game as the bird? What about the plant?
  • How do you think the game is different as the rodent, bird or the plant?
  • How are populations in the game impacted by global warming?
  • Did you always evolve the same traits first, or did you try different approaches?
  • Did you need to roll back to an earlier species? Or did you manage to have the newest subspecies at all times?

Tasks after Playing

  • What is a population?
Show Notes

A population is a group of individuals (members of a single species) who live together in the same habitat and are likely to interbreed.

  • What is the formula for change in population size?
Show Notes

Change in population size: (Births + Immigration) - (Deaths + Emigration)

  • What are the worst sources of greenhouse gases produced by humans?
Show Notes

The greatest sources of human-produced greenhouse gases are burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.

  • What are some of the steps you can take to reduce your own environmental impact (= carbon footprint)?
Show Notes

Some examples include using public transportation (but not planes!), adopting a vegetarian diet, limiting the number of children and reducing consumption of all manner of products.