This is a simulation activity where students analyze the impact of biodiversity on an ecosystem. It is composed of 2 rounds. In the first round students are given a card with a pocket gopher on it. I explain that they will interact (by shaking hands) with 5 other gophers in the room. They write these students names on their card. I then simulate the spread of a disease throughout the ecosystem and every gopher (student) that interacted with an infected gopher sits down. In round two, I repeat the process but I give students cards that have a variety of animals on them and not just gophers. In this round, when the disease spread throughout the environment it only affects other gophers. As a result, it spread much more slowly and to less students. This helps them to visualize one aspect of how increased biodiversity is beneficial to an ecosystem. After the simulation students answer analysis questions and make a very simple graph to analyze the impacts.
-Pocket Gopher Cards
-Diverse Animal Cards (including things like a mouse and opossum)