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Lesson 2: Different Measures of Biodiversity


The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to different methods of calculating biodiversity and to consider how different biodiversity indices are sensitive to species richness and species evenness. This lesson builds off of the previous lesson where students brainstormed different ways of determining biodiversity. The first activity engages students in developing a way to evaluate which cell-phone plan is best. The goal of the first activity of this lesson is to help students to understand that there are multiple ways to measure something. The second activity introduces four measures of biodiversity (species richness, species evenness, Simpson’s Index and Shannon-Weaver Index) through a reading and discussion. The third activity has the students use these different measures to evaluate the bird biodiversity of the three urban sites introduced in Lesson 1. There is also a fourth optional activity that can be completed either in class or as homework that provides students with additional practice calculating biodiversity using tree data.