At a Glance


  • Biology
  • STEM

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP


  • General Biology I

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Solving problems
  • Reading
  • Taking a quiz & test

Technical Details

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Assessment & knowledge refinement
  • Application & knowledge building


In this peer instruction case study, students will learn about species interactions and the different types of relationships that can be formed between species.

Students take on the role of ecologists and they are tasked with saving the Brazil nut tree community from the effects of deforestation.

This case study uses the flipped classroom strategy in which students will prepare for the task by watching videos, reading and performing a quiz before entering the classroom.

Within the classroom the students are split into groups and are posed with a series of questions that will lead them to devising a plan to save the Brazil nut tree community. The questions are presented as short answer style.

Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Define the different types of interactions between species
  • Explain the effects of deforestation on communities

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Edward Awad

Edward Awad

Vanier College, Montreal, QC

  • This case study presents the students with a real-world problem in the field and asks them to solve it;
  • By using as flipped classroom strategy, the students come prepared and engaged.
  • Students that are not interested in ecology will tend to lose focus and drift away from the case study.
  • To keep them engaged, remind the students that this is a real-world problem and that our actions can harm communities. Students tend to be more engaged when they know they are working on something of value;
  • Instructors can make the students check each other’s work throughout the case study. An example would be asking groups to perform a peer evaluation of the table summarizing the possible types of interactions between the different species in the Brazil nut tree community.


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