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Animal Survivor

1 Class Session, 1.5 Hours

Students learn the importance and dynamics of food chains/webs and how species depend on one another for survival. In a fast-paced activity, students are assigned an identity: carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. They must search for food while avoiding predators: their peers!

What’s Covered

Students learn about biodiversity and the dynamic relationships between living organisms and their non-living environmental factors within an ecosystem, with a specific focus on the San Bernardino National Forest. Through building a physical food web and examining model skulls, students investigate the interdependence of producers, consumers and decomposers.

Lessons & Activities

The class culminates in (2) active games— “Oh, Deer!” and “Animal Survivor”—where students are assigned a role (predator, prey, or environmental resource) and must acquire the resources needed to survive while escaping from predators. Through these lively activities, students experience the impact that changes in populations and the physical environment can have on an ecosystem overtime.

Constructing a Food Web

Students are assigned a role as a decomposer, producer or consumer that is native to the San Bernardino National Forest and are tasked with using string or Jenga blocks to build a food web.

“Oh Deer!”

Students play a game where they each act as either a deer or an environmental resource (food, water or shelter) within an ecosystem. As resources are consumed, more deer must compete for fewer resources. Deer that do not survive are “decomposed” and become resources for future populations, showing the cyclical balance between consumers and resources over time.

Animal Survivor

At last, the game that the class is named after! Students play a variation of tag using their assigned role (mountain lion, deer or human hunter). Each participant must quickly gather the resources they need to survive and return to their shelter while avoiding predators and environmental hazards.

Educational Standards

Applicable Common Core/Next Generation Standards:

  • NGSS-MS-LS2-3: Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • NGSS-MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • NGSS-MS-LS2-5: Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • NGSS-5-LS1-1: Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
  • NGSS-5-LS2-1: Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
  • NGSS MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • NGSS 5-PS3-1: Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.

Ready to Get Started?

Accelerate your students’ learning with our exciting curriculum. Learn more about this hands-on, experiential education activity today.

Pali student group prepares to play Animal Survivor
Raving Reviews

What People Are Saying

I loved my experience at Pali. In my time as an instructor, I was able to develop many skills in the classroom as a teacher and as a leader. I would highly recommend this position for anyone who would like to start a career in the Outdoor Education Industry.

Alicia G., Instructor

Thank you so much for an incredible week. The kids are jazzed; parents are more jazzed. Your team is incredible, and the planning and execution for a top notch science/outdoor education/leadership camp is celebrated. We are so glad we found you.

Danielle V., Teacher

Impressive! This is our first time to Pali. I have taken students to four other SoCal science camps and I would highly recommend Pali and plan to return next year.

Janice K., Educator

Source: Yelp