Saldo Island: An Unfair Game

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In this environmental science activity about biodiversity, learners play a game to discover the effects of non-native species on an ecosystem. This active game is played outdoors in an open field and learners role play as either birds or mice, exchanging seeds or flowers to survive the seasons. A second round of play introduces another species (a cat) to the scenario. This lesson guide includes background information, key words, extensions, and a real life connection to New Zealand.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Permanent marker for writing on stones
  • 5-7 hats or small bowls to use as bases (4-6) and 1 cache (exact number depends on number of players – see rules)
  • Watch to mark 15 minutes of play
  • Game pieces to be gathered on site


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

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Games
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Nordby, Ann ; Dunham, Trudy ; Staker, Jay


  • All rights reserved, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, 2008