Crabs! / Oh Deer Invasive Species Modeling

In this active and competitive game, students build background knowledge by experiencing how a community of native cabs changes in response to resource availability and competition from invasive crabs. You can adapt this game to work for a variety of ecosystems with different native and invasive species.



Teacher Instructions

Crabs! / Oh Deer Teacher Guide

Crabs! / Oh Deer Student Pages

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to…

  • Explain how invasive, native, and non-native species compete for resources within a model ecosystem.
  • Interpret data to determine the impact of resource availability and competition on native and invasive species populations within an ecosystem

Background information: This activity develops concepts around native, invasive, and non-native species.

Native species are plants, animals, or other organisms that have historically occurred and evolved where they are now.

Non-native species have been either intentionally or accidentally introduced by humans or their activities. Non-native species do not cause environmental or economic harm. An important, not-to-be-missed distinction between non-native species and invasive species is that non-native species do not disrupt the natural functions and processes of native ecosystems.

Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, or other organisms that did not historically occur in their current location. When introduced, they develop abundant, widespread populations that negatively impact the environment, the economy, human health, or the way we live.


Easel and flip-chart or dry-erase board and marker


Student notebook pages