Coincidental Colonization

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In this game of chance, learners will discover how organisms colonized the Galápagos Islands, experiencing how chance plays a role in the successful dispersal of species to new areas. Each learner will be assigned an animal along with information about its special characteristics and what chance events they will need to colonize the island. The educator will randomly select popsicle sticks that each have one chance event written on it to simulate the unpredictability of nature and the needs of the new environment. If the popsicle stick event matches the next box on the learner's card, the learner's animal is one step closer to mirgating to the Galápagos Islands. This lesson plan includes educator resources, wrap-up suggestions, extension ideas, and is standards-based. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
      • Classification
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Games
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access