Make a Mangrove: An Ecosystem Game

Make a Mangrove

What Is This Game?

Now that your kids are experts on life in the mangrove swamp, they can try keeping a whole mangrove ecosystem alive! This game allows players to see how the different species of plants and animals depend on one another, and to experiment with how changing the amount of one resource affects the whole ecosystem. Their goal is to put together a balanced ecosystem, in which each animal has enough food to survive over a period of 12 days. The longer their ecosystem lasts, the more points they will earn for their sticker collections.

Conversation Starters

  • Was it easy or hard to keep the animals and plants in your ecosystem alive for 12 days? If it was hard, what made it hard?
  • What surprised you about the number of plants and animals you needed in order to keep your ecosystem balanced?
  • Why does your ecosystem need so many plants?
  • In some places, people have cut down mangrove forests to create paths for boats to travel. What are some animals that depend on mangrove swamps? How would cutting down the trees affect them and their habitat?

Explore Some More

Model Mangroves

Using craft supplies like pipe cleaners, construction paper, and pom-poms, and other materials such as paper towel rolls, make a model of a mangrove tree. The model should show its roots, trunk, and canopy. Then make models of some of the animals that live in, on, or near the mangrove tree and put them on the tree. Make a similar model of a tree in your neighborhood and the animals that live in, on, or near it. How are your two models similar? How are they different?