In this lesson, students will learn about biodiversity and how we measure it for biological communities. They will learn to calculate a diversity metric (Simpson’s Index), then use that data to see how diversity can affect a communities’ resistance to disaster or disturbance. They will use freshwater mussels as a model community for this exercise, so students will also get a chance to learn about mussel diversity in the Cumberland River. This lesson applies mathematical concepts to a local environmental issue.
Written in collaboration with Jennifer M. DeBruyn, a Tennessee educator, as part of our e-STEM for Tennessee’s Teachers program.