This interrupted case study is intended for use in lower-division biology or ecology courses to complement the SimUText (SimBio) Life History chapter. Students practice calculating life history parameters and interpreting life history data.
This case study asks students to calculate life history parameters (mx and Fx) from published data on sifakas. Students complete a life history table, and answer associated questions on a handout, as information is presented in a slide show. At each step, answers are revealed on slides to ensure that all students have the correct answer before moving forward. Projecting the slides onto a whiteboard, rather than a screen, allows the instructor to perform some long-hand calculations as examples. This case study could be lengthened, or made more appropriate for a higher-level course, by giving the students more of the calculations to do themselves (e.g., estimating median birth rates for each age class). To reduce time spent in class, a portion of the handout could be completed in advance as homework. The case can be adapted to be shorter by removing the discussion of biased sex ratios. If used as written, the instructor should be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes of class time on the case study.
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