The Wolves of Isle Royale
This activity explores images of wolves hunting a moose on Isle Royale, which serve as phenomena for learning about predator-prey population dynamics.
Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior, is the site of the longest continuous predator-prey study in the world. Since 1958, scientists have monitored the island’s wolf and moose populations. Each population responds to physical and biological factors, such as disease, severe weather, and climate change. The populations also influence each other, leading to cyclical patterns in their sizes. These images show one interaction between wolves and moose on the island.
The “Educator Materials” document includes background information and implementation suggestions for using the images as phenomena. The “Student Handout” includes the images and background information.
Images by Rolf O. Peterson, Michigan Tech University
Student Learning Targets
- Examine images of phenomena, make observations, and ask questions.
- Collaborate with peers on ideas, ask questions that require higher levels of reasoning, and develop deeper understanding of concepts.
- Describe and graph how predator and prey population sizes can directly influence each other.
carrying capacity, cycle, food chain, graphing, oscillation, population model, predator, prey, trophic interaction
HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2; SEP1
4.A.5, 4.B.3; SP3