The Floristic Relay: A Game to Teach Succession

 Author:  Elena Ortiz-Barney

AreaLife Sciences 

 Grade Level: 5-12


This lesson is designed to introduce students to the concept of succession or plant community dynamics. It takes advantage of students’ enthusiasm and interest in playing games. This lesson uses a board game in which students represent imaginary plant species. Students explore plant community dynamics by playing the game. Each time the game is played, the students are conducting a type of experiment. Students report on the results at different points in the game. Then they discuss with the class, what they have learned. To apply their new knowledge, students predict changes in the community and attempt to make the community change in specific ways.


Teaching Standards

STANDARD A. Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.

STANDARD B. Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teacher

  • Focus and support inquiries while interacting with students.
  • Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas.
  • Content Standards (Grades 5-8 and 9-12)

STANDARD C. As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of
Populations and ecosystems

  • Diversity and adaptations of organisms

STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of nterdependence of organisms

State Academic Standards:

STANDARD 1: Science as Inquiry

Essentials (Grades 4-8)

  • 1SC-E2. Create a model (e.g., a computer simulation, a stream table) to predict change
  • 1SC-E3. Organize and present data gathered from their own experiences, using appropriate mathematical analyses and graphical representations
  • 1SC-E4. Identify and refine questions from previous investigations

Proficiency (Grades 9-12)

  • 1SC-P1. Propose solutions to practical and theoretical problems by synthesizing and evaluating information gained from scientific investigations
  • 1SC-P6. Identify and refine a researchable question, conduct the experiment, collect and analyze data, share and discuss findings

STANDARD 3: Personal and social perspectives in science and technology

Proficiency (Grades 9-12)

  • 3SC-P4. Identify and describe the basic processes of the natural ecosystems and how these processes affect, and are affected by, humans

STANDARD 4: Life Science

Essentials (Grades 4-8)

  • 4SC-E7. Explain and model the interaction and interdependence of living and non-living components within ecosystems, including the adaptation of plants and animals to their environment

Proficiency (Grades 9-12)

  • 4SC-P6. Describe and explain how the environment can affect the number of species and the diversity of species in an environment.


Lesson Plan (pdf / doc)
Background (pdf / doc)
Gameboard (pdf / doc)
Gamecards (pdf / doc) 
Student Worksheet  (pdf / doc)