1. Have students construct a chart as follows:
Year # of deer beginning year # of deer surviving each year
2. Carry students outside to a large grassy area and line them up shoulder to shoulder at the edge of the
3. Spread chips around the feeding area. I use poker chips they are an easy size to see.
4. Have students complete the first section of the chart. 19 students = 19 deer starting year one.
5. Tell students that they will need to collect 5 chips in order to survive the year; however, they can not
collect more than 10 chips or they will also die from overeating.
6. Release the deer to collect food from the feeding area.
7. Have them line up again and raise their hands if they got 5 but no more than 10 chips. (You may
need to have them police each other)
8. They should fill in the # of deer than survived the year (unless they commit suicide they all should
9. Explain that if they survive year one, they have had a baby. In year two, they have to feed
themselves AND their baby.
10. Have the students complete the chart for the beginning of year 2. If you have 20 deer survive year
one…you should have 40 deer beginning year 2.
11. Because deer are herbivores and trees replenish their leaves each year, have the students return
their chips to the feeding area. ( be careful that you are not in the way of their throwing chips).
12. Students feed
13. Count deer surviving. Some students hold up one finger because only they survived others will hold
up 2 because they survived along with their baby.
14. Explain in year 3 they have another baby AND if their first baby survived, it also had a baby. Here is
where it gets a little confusing because some students are feeding 2 deer and other are feeding 4.
15. fill in chart at end of year 2.
16. return chips to feeding area
17. double the number that ended year 2 to start year three.
18. repeat steps 12-17 until your students have collected data for 5 years. At the end of the 5th year
have students return chips to you rather than throwing them out again.
19. Check for lost chips once more in the feeding area
20. Return to the classroom to graph data. # of deer surviving by year
21. 2 questions: What is the carrying capacity of this environment? What is the limiting factor in this