Predator vs Prey or Prey vs Predator?

The Basic Idea

This is an exciting and active game that can be played almost anywhere. Predator-Prey teaches children about the food chain by assigning the participants roles that affect how they can play the game. Primary predators have the goal of finding and catching prey, while participants lower on the food chain are faced with the challenge of avoiding predators while also meeting their own needs. Each participant quickly learns that it is not easy to survive, even if you are a predator. The object of the game is to “survive” by avoiding being eaten and getting enough food and water. The species with the most life tags at the end wins.

In more detail…

The class should be split into two teams. Play this game in a relatively large area with defined boundaries. Ideal locations have both open and sheltered areas (for hiding places).

How to play the game:

Children are to wear a different coloured bib/band to identify themselves as either worm/mouse/fox. Ensure that the ratios are approximately 3 : 2 : 1 (worm : mouse : fox)

Worms are given 12 life tags and they go off and hide as best as they can. Mice are given 6 life tags. They go off after the worms 2/3 minutes later. Foxes are given 3 life tags. They go after the mice after 2/3 mins.

The rules: Worms cannot eat mice or foxes. Mice can eat worms but not foxes. Foxes can eat worms and mice. People run around trying to collect life tags and not lose them. If you are caught by an animal that can eat you, you must give that player a life tag. The species with most life tags at the end wins.

Set up several “food” and “water” stations that animals lower on the food chain must collect (predators will get their “food” from the life tags of their prey). “Food” and “water” can be in the form of counters.

Predators will learn to ambush these stations, but they also must leave them to get water and to engage in a chase.

Make sure you make enough “food and water” stations scattered about so that they all cannot be ambushed continually by predators. Food and water counters can be swapped for life tags (teacher to be in charge of this).

At the end of the game, discuss the game. This could include predator/prey relationships throughout nature and how they can fluctuate.


How to take it even further or make it more challenging

• What did this game teach you about predator-prey relations?

• How did you feel being high on the food chain? Low on the food chain?

• What was most difficult for you about this game?

• Do you think this game reflects the challenge animals face in survival? Why or why not?

A monitor can also become a ‘natural disaster’ taking Life Tags away from any animal.

Change the ratios/number of life tags available. What happens further up the food chain?