This hands-on activity accompanies the video The Great Elephant Census. Students use beans or lentils to model sample and total count methods for studying wildlife population sizes.
The Great Elephant Census was a large-scale aerial survey that counted elephants across the continent of Africa. Students watch a video that describes how scientists conducted that work.
After watching the video, students model two types of counting methods, sample counts and total counts, using a printout of the landscape and beans to represent the elephants. Students collect data by measuring the area, counting “elephants,” and calculating population density.
Student Learning Targets
Differentiate between a sample and total count and identify the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Collect data for both a sample count and total count for a population and calculate population densities.
Analyze variations in class data.
data analysis, density, distribution, modeling, population, species
HS-LS2-2; SEP2, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
ENE-4.C, SYI-3.D.1; SP2, SP4, SP5
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 2.1, 9.9
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.A, EIN-4.B, SP4, SP5, SP6
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.A-REI.3, Math.S-IC.1, Math.S-IC.3, Math.S-IC.4; MP2, MP3
Vision and Change (2009)
CC5; DP2, DP3