Topics Explored: Conservation of Biodiversity, Environmental Impact Statements, Land Use

This case study explores the history of the Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) in the United States, examines the factors which caused their decline and rebound, and considers their future. Students will consider the role of environmental impact statements (EIS) in making decisions, and propose comments to an EIS regarding the expansion of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). Answer key included.

Case Study: Bighorn Sheep (Teacher & Student Edition)

  • ZIP file containing 2 PDF files 
    (1 Teacher Edition and 1 Student Edition)

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
    HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
    HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
    HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.

    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:
    2.1 Explain levels of biodiversity and their importance to ecosystems.
    2.2 Describe ecosystem services. Describe the results of human disruption to ecosystem services. 
    2.3 Describe island biogeorgraphy. Describe the role of island biogeography in evolution. 
    2.5 Explain how natural disruptions, both short- and long-term, impact an ecosystem.
    2.6 Describe how organisms adapt to their environment. 

    AP® Environmental Science Practices:
    1: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. 
    2: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes. 
    3: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues. 
    4: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles. 
    5: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.
    6: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.
    7: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.

    IB Environmental Systems Learning Objectives:
    3.2.1 Explain the concept of resources in terms of natural income.
    4.1.5 Explain the relationships among ecosystem stability, diversity, succession and habitat. 
    4.2.1 Idenitfy factors that lead to loss of diversity.
    4.2.4 Describe and explain the factors that may make species more or less prone to extinction. 
    7.1.3 Discuss how these philosophies influence the decision-making process with respect to environmental issues covered in this course.
    7.1.6 Justify your personal viewpoint on environmental issues


    AP® is a registered trademark registered by the College Board®. IB® is a trademark registered by the International Baccalaureate Organization®. This work/product/service has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the College Board® or the International Baccalaureate Organization®.