Pika Models + Climate Change Lesson Plan

Pika Models + Climate Change Lesson Plan

BAESI’s new “Pika Models + Climate Change” lesson plans are adapted from the 2016 Science Framework for California Public Schools (pp. 839-841). Students explore the life of pikas, tiny mammals that live in alpine areas, and how they are being impacted by climate change. After a brief introduction which includes a reading, short video, and story which includes a mathematical model, students engage in a kinesthetic simulation to gain first-hand experience of life as a pika, and how the animals can be impacted by shrinking habitat. Students then create line graphs with data from the simulation and analyze it.

Part II of the lesson allows students to create their own model to teach others about pikas and their connections to their ecosystem, and/or how the pika or another organism is being impacted by climate change and/or other human activities. Numerous adaptations/extensions are listed at the end of the lesson, including ways to explore additional data from online computer simulations and how they can incorporate current and projected climatic data into their models.

There are two versions of the lesson that are both highly adaptable to meet the needs of all learners:

Both versions of the lesson are aligned to NGSS & Common Core State Standards, as well as California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts. They can be easily adapted for other grades and non-formal education settings, as well. We hope you and your students enjoy the simulations and other activities and we’d love to hear your feedback about it!

California Education and the Environment Initiative

California Education and the Environment Initiative is free, state-sponsored K-12 curriculum that teaches science and history-social science standards through an environmental lens.

Facing the Future: Global Sustainability Curriculum

K-12 standards-aligned curriculum on global sustainability.

Facing the Future: Global Sustainability Curriculum

Green Education Foundation

The Green Education Foundation (GEF) is a national non-profit that offers challenges, lessons, and activities for K-12 on sustainability in all subjects including science, math, and language arts.


Encyclopedia of Earth Exploration

The Encyclopedia of Earth is a wonderful reference from the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. For example, it has an excellent section on Biodiversity and many other topics in life science. The Encyclopedia of Earth is affiliated with The Encyclopedia of Life, another excellent resource being developed.