Teacher Resource

Life as a Lizard Action Cards

These cards are for the Teacher to read during the game. Print out these cards to use in the Life as a Lizard Role Playing Game


It is 3am and dark outside. The temperature is 68° F. The sky is clear.

Only the Banded gecko should be moving around, looking for crickets. At this point, they won’t find any, so instruct the pair that they will have to wait and see if crickets come out later when it is dark again. All the other students should be reading their cards to see where they take shelter at night.



It is 6am on a sunny day. The temperature is 70° F. It is no longer dark outside.

The Tree lizard and the side-blotched lizards can now come out and start warming themselves. They should be looking for appropriate places to sun themselves. The tree lizard should go in a tree and the side-blotched should be on the open ground or on the small rock. The Gila monster pair can also come out if they feel like looking for some food. You can remind them that there will be other opportunities to do so.



It is 9am, still clear, sunny skies and the temperature is 80° F.

At this point, all of the pairs can come out to warm up on their respective microhabitats, except the Banded gecko because it is nocturnal. The students will read their cards to see what kind of microhabitat they should be looking for.



It is 9:30am and 80° F. It is still clear skies. There are ants coming onto the scene now to look for some leaf litter.

Ask the students who are prey animals to read the ant card and walk around the scene accordingly. They do not climb, but rather stay in the open areas. The lizard species should read their cards to see if their species eats ants. If they do, they can try to tag some for a meal. You can give the student pairs about 10 seconds to try to get some ants. Any ants that are tagged should go back to the sidelines. You can mention here that in reality, those ants would be taken out of the food chain for good, but in this game, they will be come back later as different insects.



It is 9:45am and 85° F. There is an adult coachwhip coming onto the scene.

At this point the lizard students should read their cards to see if this snake is a predator. If so, then they need to take appropriate action (also listed on the cards). Prey include the Zebra tailed, whiptail, side-blotched, desert spiny, and tree lizards and the desert iguana. If the snake tags a lizard, they should ask the student what kind of lizard they are and then consult the species card to see if they are appropriate prey. Any lizards that are eaten must go to the sidelines to be recycled as insects later in the game.



It is 12pm, 96° F and still very sunny.

The Gila Monster, Regal horned, Desert spiny, and tree lizards should all be trying to find shelter, whether under bark or in a burrow, depending on what their species cards read.



It is still 12pm and 96° F. Some small clouds are rolling in, but not enough to lower the temperature. A roadrunner is coming onto the scene.

Ask the roadrunner to come in. The lizard species should read their cards to see what they do when a roadrunner is present. This predator is very fast and can try to tag as many lizards as it can reach. Prey include the regal horned, whiptail, tree, side-blotched, zebra-tailed, desert spiny, and Clark’s lizards and the desert iguana and chuckwalla (if it can get at it). Remind the student that the roadrunner does not go into burrows, but can go on rocks and look in crevices (that’s where the chuckwalla should be). It has a limit on how much it can eat. Any prey eaten during this round should go to the side to be recycled later as insects.



It is 12:30pm, slightly cloudy and 102° F.

Everyone should find appropriate shelter except the desert iguana, side-blotched lizard and chuckwalla. Remind the students that since the other lizards had to go in, this would be a great time to look for food without being bothered. The iguana and the chuckwalla should be trying to find flowers for a meal.



It is 3pm and very cloudy now. The clouds have cooled the temperature to 90° F. There are some crickets and ants about to come on the scene, so read your card to see if you are active at 90° F.

Active lizards include the whiptail, desert spiny, iguana, side-blotched, Clark’s, zebra tailed and chuckwalla. These students should read their cards to see if they eat crickets or ants. The chuckwalla and the iguana can still look for flowers if there are any left. The students that were tagged earlier can come onto the scene as the crickets and ants (most should be crickets, but a few can be ants). Give the students a time limit to tag crickets or ants (10-20 seconds should be enough).



It is 5:30pm, 84° F and still light out. A human is coming outside because he sees the ants crawling around. He brings his spray bottle of insecticide and sprays the insects.

Any insects touched with the spray should lie down on the ground. The lizard species can still try to eat the infected insects, but remind them that if they do they will also become infected and must go to the side. Use this opportunity to show the students that spraying some ants can have more consequences than just getting rid of ants. The lizards now have nothing to eat.



It is 12:30am, dark out and 75° F.

The infected insects should still be on the scene. All diurnal lizards should find shelter. Only the banded gecko should come out to feed. There is nothing for the gecko to eat, however, because all the insects are infected.

Return to the Life as a Lizard Unit Home Page

Learning Information

About This Page
Collection: Arizona Partners in Reptile and Amphibian Conservation, AZPARC http://www.reptilesofaz.com/ Primary Author: Craig C. Ivanyi, Herpetology Curator of the Sonoran Desert Museum and AZ PARC Education Working Group Coordinator. Additional Authors and AZPARC Education Working Group Members: Cori Dolan, Lisa Schwartz, Kat Wilson, Cristina Jones, Dave Prival, Dennis Caldwell and Taylor Edwards. Special thanks to the teachers who piloted the lessons and gave invaluable feedback: Kristen Trejos, Angela Bonine and Karen Bradley.

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Lisa Schwartz at

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