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Fleur M. Ferro
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Community College of Denver
The Perilous Plight of the Pika 

This interrupted case study addresses several concepts related to climate change and its effect on the American pika. Often called an indicator species for climate change, the pika has a unique set of variables specific to its environment. Factors such as temperature, snowpack, and vegetation can affect the distribution and ultimately the chances of survival. The case was designed for use in a "flipped" classroom in which students prepare in advance outside of class by filling out a worksheet while watching a video. The video, created by the author of the case, provides students with baseline information that they apply in class to come up with key ideas and predictions, followed by analysis of actual data to test the hypotheses they develop. The case study incorporates group discussion, analysis of experimental design, and data evaluation as central activities and can be taught in a single 50 minute class session. The case was designed for use in a large introductory-level class, but is also appropriate for smaller classes.