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Coding Food Chains

Key info...

Learning level: Upper Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, GCSE and Key Stage 4, 16+ and A Level
Location: Life's educational laboratories, Life Science Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne
Availibility: On demand

Students learn how to code a simple food chain in NetLogo.

They then investigate how the coding could be modified to give a more realistic model. They use their improved model to search for a set of parameters which leads to a stable ecosystem.
This workshop can be differentiated for every level from UKS2 upwards.
Higher level groups will be able to explore the effect of adding another organism to a stable ecosystem, be it another herbivore, a co-predator or a top predator. They will also see that feedback between predator and prey populations leads to population stability and observe the classic Lotka-Voltera plot.
This is part of a new programme of workshops to meet the latest National Curriculum requirements for primary students to learn coding.
In partnership with Cognesence.

What will you learn?

Curriculum Links

Science KS3 Biology – Material cycles and energy – Interactions and interdependencies
  • The interdependence or organisms in an ecosystem.

Computing KS3
  • Design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems.
  • Understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking (eg sort and search).
  • Use two or more programming languages and create a range of programmes including analysing and presenting data.

Aims and objectives
  • Develop an understanding of how we can use computer models to simulate the real world.
  • Create a program using NetLogo.
Curriculum Links

  • Computing 

GCSE Biology
  • Ecosystems

AS/A Level Biology
  • Ecosystems
  • Use ICT such as computer modelling

Aims and Objectives
  • Use NetLogo to create a computer model showing the interactions between species in an ecosystem.
  • Use the created model to work out how variables can affect the populations of species.
  • Understand why computer modelling is of benefit to us.