The Effects of Temperature on Caterpillar Growth Rate

Students learn about the mathematical concepts of rates of change, exponential growth, and logarithms by examining the effects of rapid environmental change on Arctic caterpillar growth rates. 

Background

This lesson and activity uses biological data on the response of organisms to temperature change to illustrate the mathematical concepts of rates of change, exponential growth, and logarithms. The first lesson includes a brief lecture (with accompanying PowerPoint) that introduces students to core biology and math concepts, and a worksheet where students answer questions and practice simple calculations. In the second part of the lesson, students learn about rapid environmental change in the Arctic and speculate how insects may respond to increasing temperature. Using a dataset on Arctic caterpillar growth rates, students will complete an activity in Microsoft Excel graphing exponential and logarithmic functions, and calculating Relative growth rate (RGR) and Doubling time (DT). 

Lesson Components

Download the following: 

Science Standards

The following standards are addressed by this unit.​

  • NGSS:  HS-LS2-2: Ecosystem Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • CCSS:  Math.Content.HSF.IF.B.6
  • CCSS:  Math.Content.HSF.IF.C.7.E

 

 

Close
The John Sloan Dickey Center