This lesson was created by James, a student in the UniTY Program at the Miami Museum of Science.







Which animal do you want to be today: the Predator or the Prey?

It's your lucky day! You can get to be both! Just proceed, and try to... survive.



Welcome to the Concept section



Survival depends on an animal's ability to obtain its particular food source.



Welcome to the Materials section






Welcome to the Preparation section




Welcome to the Procedures section



  1. Line up the children single file. Distribute the head band pictures to the children as follows: prey(p), prey(p), prey(p), Predator (P); p,p,p,P ; p,p,p,P ; p,p,p,P ; etc. In this way every fourth child will receive a Predator picture, and all of the other children will receive a prey picture.

  2. Point out that although today our predator is a hawk and our prey are squirrels, that there are many different combinations of predators and prey in nature. Give some examples of these other combinations. (Research Background Information.)

  3. Have the children color the animal pictures for their headbands.

  4. Distribute the strips of construction paper. Staple the animal pictures to the center of each strip.

  5. Explain to the children that we are going to play a game that will show us how animals in the wild search for food.

  6. Show the children the food tokens. Tell them that these represent the kind of food that the squirrels eat. Spread the tokens in the "food zone". (See diagram)

  7. Ask the children to put the head bands around their heads. Staple the strips together so that the bands fit snuggly on their heads.

  8. Ask all the children wearing squirrel headbands to stand in the "safety zone". Explain that they are very hungry. Ask them if they can see their food on the other side. What the squirrels must do is get three food tokens to fill them up and to survive. They can carry only one food token at a time and therefore they must make three complete trips before they can rest in the safety zone.

  9. Ask the hawks to stand in the playing field. Explain that they are hungry too, and they don't eat the food tokens that the squirrels eat. As a matter of fact, they eat the squirrels! They need to tag at least two squirrels in order to survive. If tagged, the squirrels retreat to an area out of any playing zones.

  10. The squirrels have some safe temporary shelters to avoid a hawk. Point out that these are represented by the X's on the playing field.

  11. Tell the children that the search for food begins at the first signs of daylight.

  12. Begin the game by stating, "one, two, three,... daylight"!

  13. After a food searching period of five minutes, end the game by calling out "one, two, three,... night fall"!

  14. Have each player count the amount of food he was able to find during the "day of play". Those who got their quota (either three food tokens, or two tagged squirrels) can consider themselves survivors.

  15. Discuss with the children the meaning of the terms predator and prey. Have the children identify the food search differences for the squirrel and the hawk.

On another occasion the game can be played again, but with optional variations:

a. Different animal combinations of predator and prey

b. Using "freezing" (standing perfectly still) as a method of protection from the predator

c. Removing some of the temporary shelters to make survival more difficult

Welcome to the links section


Thank you for taking the time to go through the process of being a Predator or Prey. Thank you from the Unity family to yours. There will be more to come, so please check this page again.


Visit us at The Miami Museum of Science at: The Unity Family Page.

Discover how people use Raptors to control rodents on farms.


For more information on prey, for example "Raptors", check out this site: Prey Site.

Learn more about Hawks.

To get back to the Home Page: PREDATORS AND PREY

Visit me at my other site: CREATING TEETH.




Special thanks to:





 Unisys Corporation

 Miami Museum Of Science