Lesson 08: Juvenile Capture

Sturgeon Lesson Plan #8

Lesson Title:  Population estimation based on juvenile Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) capture data


In the Black Lake system and other Great Lakes tributaries, research has shown that individuals are likely to remain in the lower reaches of natal rivers until the fall when they disperse to lake habitats.  Prior to dispersal, researchers conduct assessments to estimate population numbers of young Lake Sturgeon.  Monitoring juvenile (more specifically, young of year) Lake Sturgeon abundance provides biologists with information associated with recruitment levels.


Students will be able to develop questions based on juvenile lake sturgeon capture data.
Students will be able to write a hypothesis as a statement that answers a question or offers an explanation for an observed phenomenon.
Students will be able to make a prediction (the results if the hypothesis is supported) based on their hypothesis.
Students will be able to identify and explain data that; supports their hypothesis, refutes their hypothesis, is inconclusive regarding their hypothesis.

Subjects: Biology or Life Science

Grade Level(s): 7-12

Content Standards:

B1.1D Identify patterns in data and relate them to theoretical models.

B1.1E Describe a reason for a given conclusion using evidence from an investigation.

B1.1f Predict what would happen if the variables, methods, or timing of an investigation were changed.

B1.1h Design and conduct a systematic scientific investigation that tests a hypothesis. Draw conclusions from data presented in charts or tables.

Duration: 55 Min

Materials/What you Will Need:

Review materials in web section on Juvenile Period
Background pdf files with figures of experimental design
Juvenile Capture Data (Microsoft Excel data set)
Process of Science worksheet


Video may require Adobe Flash Player

See associated background pdf file.


  1. Discuss the process of science with students as a review.  If this is an introduction to the process of science it is recommended that you use a short video from arkive.org.
  2. Provide students with a background about the data including the location and methodology used to estimate juvenile (or young of year) abundance.
  3. Give students a limited amount of time (10 minutes or less) to look at the teacher selected date and record questions they have on their process of science worksheet.
  4. Have students complete the worksheet with a partner.  They may need additional time to check information in the data set.
  5. Compile a list of questions on the whiteboard and give the students a few minutes to choose the question they’d like to pursue, while the teacher eliminates questions that time or the data will not support.
  6. Assign questions from the list to be answered by pairs of students or allow students to choose their own question and groups.
  7. Each group will need a process of science worksheet to guide the development of a hypothesis and prediction for their question.
  8. Allow time for students to analyze and compile data for their hypothesis.
  9. Students present their initial question, hypothesis, data, additional questions that arose and conclusion for peer review and discussion.  The teacher should keep a running list of the additional question that arose during the analysis.  This is a good reminder of the circular nature of science.

Extended Learning Opportunities:

Assessment and Evaluation:


Lesson Sources:

Data Sources:

Juvenile Capture

Supporting Resources:

Student Handouts – Process of Science Worksheet