Making Props and Preparing the Physical Space
The game requires the creation of props, some special (though easily created) spaces in the classroom or outdoors, and the printing of cast and action cards. The class can help make the props for the activity, move furniture around and decide where things should go, and decorate their cast cards. This gives the students more of an investment in the outcome of the activity.
Tails: Making tails is important to the game. Each lizard species gets a flag or “pass” that is meant to represent a tail. This could be attached to species card, Velcro-ed to the student, or on a necklace. The shape it takes is up to you. More ideas for tails: pipe cleaners, cards with pictures on them (they can attach it to a necklace or hold it in a pocket), scarves. Students should make the tails and the class can decide as a whole what to use for tails.
The tail is the student’s get out of jail free card. See the game rules for additional explanation.
Camouflage: Obtain pennies to use for camouflage and explain what they will be used for. Some of the lizard species use camouflage to hide from predators. The species cards indicate which lizards use this method of escape. In nature, camouflage does not always work. To demonstrate this, each student playing a lizard species that uses camouflage is given a coin. If a predator species tags a lizard species with a coin, the lizard species gets to call heads or tails and then flips the coin. If the coin lands on the side they called, then it is assumed that the camouflage tactic was successful and the lizard can remain on the scene. If the coin lands on the side not called, then it is assumed that the camouflage did not work and the predator can leave the scene with their meal.
Ask students to determine who uses camouflage and mark this on their lizard lists. Lizards that use camouflage
- Gila Monster - Heloderma susprctum
- Regal Horned Lizard- Phyrnosoma solare
- Desert Iguana - Dipsosaurus dorsalis
- Ornate Tree Lizard - Urosaurus ornatus
- Common Side-blotched Lizard - Uta stansburiana
- Western Banded Gecko - Coleonyx variegatus
Make or obtain additional props. Students should make or bring in the following props. If you are going to play outside you may not need to make some of these props.
- Paper flowers – construction paper in flower shape can be taped to the trees
- Tree bark – construction paper in a shield-like form
- Eggs– the Gila monster eats eggs so you will need to put some in a burrow for them to find. You can use balls of string, plastic eggs, balls, marbles, etc, or have the kids make something that represents an egg to them.
- Check "Setting up the physical space" in lesson 3.3 to see if there is anything else you will need for preparing the space where you will play the game.
- Come up with some additional props on your own.
Setting up the Physical Space
This activity can be done in a classroom or outside. In either case, the play area is divided into habitats and microhabitats, including two large rocks, two small rocks, a rock crevice, two trees, and burrows. Here is an example of how a set-up for a classroom might look:
- Large rocks: push several desks together in any configuration that works for the room. Each group of desks becomes a large rock. Use as many desks as it takes to fit 4-6 students. You could also use a low shelf if it is sturdy.
- Rock Crevice: one of the desks used in the large rock should be set slightly askew, leaving a small space that will serve as a rock crevice. This space should be big enough to fit two children.
- Small rocks: push a couple desks together or use a small table. These areas should fit two students each.
- Mesquite tree and creosote bush: the first could be two chairs side by side and the second could be the teacher’s desk. Students will love the idea of being allowed to climb on the teacher’s desk. If this is not feasible put two more chairs side by side in another area of the room to serve as the other tree.
- Burrows: the burrows are automatically made when you put the desks together. The area under each rock area (student desks) becomes the burrows. There should be four burrow areas.
- Open areas: leave as much space open as possible around each resource. A lot of activity will occur in these open areas.