In this lesson, students will examine where American pikas live, how they communicate, and how climate change impacts them.
This resource includes one version of the lesson for grades 3-8 and one for high school students.
Students will watch videos about the American pika, engage in an outdoor activity that reveals what it's like to be a pika, and create educational models about their ecological importance.
There are many hands-on activities and different visualizations for all kinds of learners.
This lesson encourages students to think deeply about biodiversity.
It may benefit students to know how to calculate a triangle's area.
This lesson requires access to an outdoor space with plenty of room.
The links to A Short Guide to Sierra Nevada Predators & Prey, the Field Journaling lesson plan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Sagebrush Ecosystems diagram may not load.
This lesson has extension resources that can enrich students' understanding of pikas.
After learning that increasing temperatures due to increased carbon emissions are reducing the pika population, students can discuss which human activities are causing harm to ecosystems worldwide and solutions to decrease the human impact.
Students can discuss the ecological importance of biodiversity and keystone species.
This lesson can enhance a classroom discussion on other species threatened by climate change.
Some students may benefit from guided notes while reading the fact sheet or watching the videos.
This resource is from the CLEAN collection. “The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness.”
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
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.
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
3-LS4-4 Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.2 Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.9-10.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.