Skip to main content

Biodiversity Counts: Cumberland River Mussels

Grade levels: 6th, 7th, 8th, Environmental Science, Ecology 

Topics: Ecosystems and Biodiversity, Human Impact

Languages: English

Interdisciplinary: No

Disciplinary Core Idea
LS2:  Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics 

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. 

When you click “Go to Lesson Plan” you will be asked to register with the Cumberland River Compact. Your registration helps us understand who is using our lessons and so we can let you know about updates. You will register for each lesson you would like to access and will only be added to our email list once.
This project is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee.