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Animal Over Population

Formation – Special

Equipment – None

Game – This activity is intended to be a simple but powerful way for students to grasp some basic concepts: that everything in natural systems is interrelated; that populations of organisms are continuously affected by elements of their environment; and that populations of animals do not stay at the same static number year after year in their environment, but rather are continually changing in a process of maintaining dynamic equilibria in natural systems.

The major purpose of this activity if for students to understand the importance of suitable habitat as well as factors that may affect wildlife populations in constantly changing ecosystems."

The game:
Food, water, shelter and space in a suitable arrangement are necessary for survival.  For this game, we assume the animals have enough space to survive.

Area needs to be large enough for the girls to run. Mark 2 parallel lines on the ground or floor 10 to 20 yards apart. Count off the girls in fours.  The "ones" become the deer and line up on one line. The "twos" are food, the "threes" are water, the "fours" are shelter -
habitat components and they line up on the 2nd line. Each girl will decide which component of the habitat they will be either looking for (ones) or representing (twos, threes, fours) before the round starts.  Food is shown by clamping hands over the stomach, water is shown by putting hands over the mouth, shelter is shown by holding both hands over the head like a pitched house roof.

Both lines are facing away from each other while they make their decisions. The moderator counts to three and both lines face each other.  When the deer see the component they need, they run to it and take it back to their side and that shows that they successfully met that need and successfully reproduced as a result.

Any deer that fails to find its component dies and becomes part of the habitat by going to the other line for the next round.

The deer that reaches a habitat component 1st survives and habitat components need to stay in place on their line until a deer claims them.  If no deer claims them, they stay on the line for the next round. Each round the deer and habitat can and should change which component they look for or become.  The moderator can record the results for each round to show what happens such as a drought (no one in the habitat was water) or a flood (everyone in the habitat was water) by keeping track of how many deer there were at the beginning and end of the round and what habitat components were available.


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