Invasive Species "Space Invaders" Game
The Space Invaders game helps students better understand the adaptive traits of plants in a new environment. The game simulates introducing new plants to 3 different ecosystems. After several rounds of play, students will see which plants survive and reproduced as well as which plants were potentially displaced.
Time to Complete
Space Invaders game, 1 copy per group
- 3 game boards per group
- 3 plant type cards per group
- 3 different types of game pieces (Pennies, dimes, paper clips, safety pins, buttons, beads, etc.-- 24 pieces per student)
- Make enough copies of the Space Invader game for each group to have all three of the game boards, a set of instructions, and a set of plant type cards (pages 4-8 of attached Space Invaders game.)
- Gather 3 different types of game pieces (Ideas include paper clips, buttons, beads, safety pins, or coins) with at least 24 pieces for each student.
- Learn how to play the game using the instructions and illustrations found on pages 1-3 of the attached Space Invaders game.
Space Invaders Game
- Provide students with access to the Space Invader game materials.
- Use pages 1-3 to introduce the rules of the game. You may want to play a quick game as a whole class so that all students fully understand the instructions.
- Have students complete 1 full game (5 rounds) and record their results in the game scorecard.
- If time allows, have students play an additional 2 games so they have a chance to play on all three game boards (wet, dry, and normal). This opportunity lets students observe differences in plant type performance under different environmental conditions.
- Once students have played the game, use page 9 of the attached document to discuss the follow-up questions as a class or individually.
- Summarize what students have learned. Students should begin to see that traits such as reproductive capacity, ease of seed dispersal, and tolerance of different moisture conditions can greatly influence how a plant type performs and that a plant can be well adapted or not to differing environmental conditions.
File, Map, or Graphic
Jonathan Anderson, Allison Zach, Erin Ingram, and Molly Brandt
- Jonathon Anderson: Norfolk High School, Norfolk, NE
- Allison Zach: Nebraska Invasive Species Program
- Erin Ingram: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, IANR Science Literacy Initiative, National Center for Agricultural Literacy
- Molly Brandt: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, IANR Science Literacy Initiative, National Center for Agricultural Literacy