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1. What you can do
5. Environmental Issues
6. Keystone species
7. Get Wet!-
Field Study Ideas
8. The Zoo Experience
9. Frogs & Friends
10. Case Studies
3.7 RANAGADE RETREAT
(Level: 4 :: Food Webs)
Purpose: To simulate predator/prey relationships in a
wetland, and recognize various adaptations that increase
What You Need: tubers or other type of plant food
(markers - 3 per prey species) :: 5-6 lily pads (hula hoops) ::
5-7 coloured vests or arm bands
What You Do:
- Select the predator and prey species for the activity from
the following list. The students simulate the mode of locomotion
of the species selected. Actions to represent each of the modes
can be decided by the students. Designate students as either prey
or predator. Ensure that for every predator there are at least 5
prey (1:5 ratio).
leopard frog (hops)
Great Blue Heron (flies)
dragonfly (flaps hands & buzzes)
Marsh Hawk (soars)
snapping turtle (crawls)
- The playing area, or "wetland" should be large enough to
allow the class to run freely without the possibility of running
into each other. Designate one end of the wetland as a stand of
cattails which provides ample shelter for animals. Designate the
other end of the wetland as a large patch of arrowhead which
provides a sufficient food source for animals. In between the
cattail and the arrowhead are randomly placed hula hoops which
represent lily pads for additional shelter and protection.
- Place the tubers (markers) in the arrowhead patch (3 per prey
involved). The predators put on the coloured vests or arm bands
so they are recognized.
- The simulation begins with the blow of a whistle. At this
time, all prey species are in the cattails. The predators are
randomly distributed throughout the wetland. The prey and
predators begin simulating the actions of the animal they are
representing. The prey species need to move to the arrowhead
patch to obtain food. If they arrive, they take 1 tuber and then
return to the cattails. They require 3 tubers to survive. They
however can be caught by predators as they make their journey to
the food source and/or back to shelter. If they are approached by
a predator, they can avoid detection by either standing perfectly
still to camouflage themselves, or finding a lily pad to hide
under (place a foot in it). A prey is caught when a predator tags
it. Each predator must capture 2 prey in order to survive.
Captured prey are taken to the "boardwalk" which surrounds the
wetland and remain there until the activity is over. A time limit
of 5-7 minutes is recommended per round in order to maintain
interest from all participants.
- Record the number of prey captured each round.
- Once finished, start again using a different set of prey and
predators, and have students reverse their roles.
- Discuss the following questions with the students regarding
- Why is there a greater ratio of prey to predators?
- Which method of eluding a predator did you use most often?
- Why are adaptations important to predators?
- What are the three styles used by predators to hunt for prey?
How were the predators in the game limited by the style they
Click here to see the answers to these questions.
Click here to see the list of activities for this unit.
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