Island Migration Simulation

A program which simulates the population of a newly created island by various plant species which migrate to the island

Written by Greg Staples, a 6th grade teacher in Oconomowoc, WI

  1. Installation
  2. Overview
  3. How 'Island' Works
  4. Menu Choices
  5. Teaching Suggestions
  6. Credits
  7. Sample Screen
    1. Installation
    You can retrieve the self-extracting DOS executable file by clicking HERE. Make sure you save the file with the name ISLAND10.EXE Copy all files to the directory of your choosing. Be sure that the island.exe file and the island.hlp file are in the same directory. This program is freeware. You may freely copy or share the program.

    2. Overview
    New islands are often created due to volcanic activity. Over time these new islands become populated with plant life. The composition of the island's plant life depends on many factors. Two of the most important are:

    1. The rate at which new species migrate to the island, i.e. seeds are carried by the wind or animals, or seeds are washed ashore.
    2. The rate at which the new speicies reproduce.

    This program simulates the island migration process. You can adjust the migration rate and birth rate for three different species of plants (represented in the program by green, yellow, and red smiley faces) which are available for populating a newly formed island.

    You will discover that this process is highly unpredictable. The migration rate is a nearly random process, and a great deal depends on the identity of the first few plants which migrate to the island. At this point, however, the birth rate of the plant becomes tremendously important.

    3. How 'Island' Works
    The island starts with no plant life. Each day there is a chance that a species will migrate to the island. The migration rate is a percent from 0 to 100 and can be set for each of the three possible species (Red, Green, and Yellow). After a species has migrated, it will begin to reproduce. The population will increase each day by the birth rate percentage.

    4. Menu Choices
    Island Start (F2)
    • Starts a new island with the current settings.
    Island Pause (F3)
    • Pauses the development of the current island. Choose Island Pause again to continue.
    Island Abandon (F4)
    • Stops the development of the current island. Choosing Island Start will begin a new island.
    Island Exit
    • Exits the program.
    Island About
    • Author credit screen.
    Edit Parameters
    • Click on arrows to increase or decrease settings by 1. Click between box and arrow to increase or decrease by 10. You may also drag box to desired setting.
    Edit Speed
    • Fastest Speed is 100. Slowest Speed is 0.

    5. Teaching Suggestions
    This program was written to help teach a concept being presented in this year's (1994) JASON project. It is my hope that other teachers will use this program in thier classrooms to supplement their JASON curriculum. For more information about the JASON project, use Gopher or WWW on the Internet.
    Gopher -
    WWW -

    I suggest simply letting students play around with settings and watch what happens.


    1. Which is more important, the migration rate or the birth rate?
    2. Why do islands end up with very different population mixes even though the settings don't change?
    3. Why do small changes in the settings make such a big difference in the results?
    4. How realistic is the program?
    5. What could be added to the program to make it more realistic? (I'd welcome suggestions)

      A data collection and graphing assignment would probably work very well with this program. Finding the average results after a large number of tests should illustrate the law of large numbers.

      6. Credits
      This program was written by Greg Staples, a 6th grade teacher in Oconomowoc, WI (Email address: The program was written using Turbo Vision, an application framework which is part of Borland's Turbo Pascal - Version 6
      JASON VI Home Page


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