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.

There is also an exciting educational video game called “Life of Pika.” It is part of the “Earthgames” series being developed by the University of Washington 

We hope you and your students enjoy the simulations and other activities and we’d love to hear your feedback about it!

Click here for more new lessons that help you integrate climate change and other Earth science topics with biology and physical science!

Pika gathering plants to make hay