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In this outdoor simulation game, learners search for pretend animals called "sticklers" to determine and map where they live (habitat) and how spread out they are in that area (distribution). Learners can explore three types of distribution—uniform (evenly spaced), random (irregularly scattered) and clumped (bunched in one or more places) and compare the patterns of animal life in their game to real animals patterns in nature.

Quick Guide

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • flat toothpicks and/or popsicle sticks and/or beans
  • data board
  • large felt-tip marker
  • fine tip marking pens
  • map boards (optional)
  • pencils (optional)


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

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Games
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 1979