1. Discuss wetlands
and their value with the students.
2. With the
class, make a list of plants and animals that live in wetlands.
Then make a list of pollutants that occur in wetlands. Post these
lists where students can see them.
3. Tell the
class that they will have to divide into two teams with equal numbers
of students. The teams have the following roles:
- 1 wildlife
- 1 biologist
- 1 informed
- Each remaining
student chooses a plant or animal from the list.
- 1 person
- 1 urban developer
- 1 logger
- 1 miner
- Each remaining
student chooses a polluting factor from the list.
4. Ask all the
students to label themselves or otherwise visually identify themselves.
The three "human" members of the Wetland Team are the only students
who can wear armbands. The rest can mark themselves with stick-on
5. Have the
students set up the playing area, and mark an area where students
who are out of the activity will gather.
6. Give the
students these instructions:
A. The Developer
Team members stand outside the perimeter of the playing area.
They will try to hit members of the Wetland Team with the ball.
B. The plant
and animal members of the Wetland Team have to dodge the ball.
If they are hit, they are out.
C. The "human"
members of the Wetland Team defend the plants and animals by trying
to catch the ball. If they catch the ball, the Developer who threw
the ball is out.
7. Begin the
activity. When a few members of the Wetland Team are out, stop the
activity and adjust the boundaries. Have the Developer Team take
a step forward; this sets the new boundaries. Do as many rounds
as you need to show the shrinking wetlands.
8. End the activity
with enough time left to discuss the results.
A. Review the
numbers of each team that were out in the first part of the activity,
and then with each successive reduction in wetlands area. Discuss
what this may mean for a real wetland.
where each of the "out" members would go if this were a real wetland.
Where would a bird go? An orchid? A salamander? Where would a logger
go to make a living? A miner?
C. Could the
occupations represented by the Developer Team be continued next
to a wetland without destroying the wetland? How?
Have the students write a description of this activity, complete
with explanations and discussion.
1. You can make this a competitive activity by timing how long it
takes to get each team member out. Compare the times for the two
teams. Discuss how the times change as the wetland shrinks. Discuss
how this simulates true wetlands situations.
2. Choose a
local wetland and find out if it is shrinking and if so, why.