Survival of the fittest on Basker Island!

Compete with other lizards for food, dodge predators, and claim the best basking spots to heal sickness and boost your energy. In Inglorious Baskers, you’ll need to make split second decisions if you want to survive, reflecting the real “life-history trade-offs” animals make in nature.

How long can you survive?



Being a lizard in the real world is tough. Actually, it’s tough for all animals because they need to make sure they have enough to eat, they need to avoid predators, and they also need to make sure they stay healthy – that’s a lot to worry about!

In this game your students will learn about all the different things animals need to manage. But most importantly, they will learn how their management of all these tings changes as the environment changes. This will help students learn more about the behavioural adaptations that animals need to have to survive.

Your students will also learn about a concept called ‘life-history trade-offs’ – this simply means that when animals take time to do one thing (like bask in a sunny spot to warm up), they can’t do another thing, like search for food. Animals always need to make these complex decisions, and now you’ll be able to see how your students do it too!

Get ready to play Inglorious Baskers, where you need to make sure you have enough food to survive and compete against rivals, while also making sure you spend enough time basking in the sun to get warm enough to speed up and escape predators. It’s a hard lizardin’ life!

Your students will also learn how to read and interpret bar graphs and scatterplots.


Setting up the game in your classroom

Getting ready to play Inglorious Baskers in your classroom is easy. Follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Add the Inglorious Baskers worksheet and setup your class code. 

Once you login to the Arludo Science Platform, head to the store tab on the left hand side menu and select the Inglorious Baskers worksheet (“Let’s Learn About Behavioural Adaptations“) . You’ll then be asked to create a class code, which is what you’ll provide to your students so that their gameplay data is anonymously collected and graphed while they play.

Because you’re providing this code to your students it’s best to keep it simple and short. It can be anything you like as long as it’s unique. We usually suggest using the initials of your school and your class name (e.g. Class 4K at Coogee Public School would be: cpc4k).

Step 2: Download Inglorious Baskers 

You can add Inglorious Baskers to your classroom devices (Chromebooks, Android Tablets or iPads) via the App Store or Google Play, or you can play inglorious Baskers in a web browser through this link, allowing you to use any computers at your school.

Step 3: Play!

Once your students are ready to play, ask your students to press the class code button class code button and enter the class code that you created in Step 1. This will ensure all the data from each of the devices you’re using is aggregated correctly to your class.

If your students are the competitive type (we’re going to assume they are!), they can also enter in their name or alias by pressing the Student ID button player button This will ensure their name or alias is listed in the leaderboard.

(Arludo takes student privacy very seriously. Read our Privacy Policy here)

Step 4: Explore data together

Once your students have had a couple of turns at playing, it’s time to explore the data that you collected together!

To do this, head into your Arludo Science Portal and select the worksheets tab on the left hand side menu. Find the Inglorious Baskers worksheet in the list and on the far right hand side select the three dots. You can then select ‘Show Worksheet Graphs’ to begin exploring the data with your students.

Let’s take a look at some graph examples to help you and find out what we can learn. But remember, feel free to just jump into the graphs – science is all about exploration and you’ll be surprised how keen your students are to explore the data they helped collect.


Let’s take a look at some simpler bar graphs for younger students

How are most of your students losing in the game?

There are a lot of different challenges on Basker Island. As a lizard, you need to compete for food against other lizards, you need to stay away from predators, and you also need to manage your health and body temperature – that’s a lot to do! But that’s what lots of different animals need to do in nature.

After playing a few times, you can ask your students to take a look at this graph and ask them what was the most risky thing they were doing in the game that led to the most deaths. If you look below, you’ll notice that most students in this class were knocked out of Basker Island by other competitors.

A great question to ask your students would then be: What do you think you need to do so you aren’t knocked out as much? After thinking about it, students should realise that they need to collect more food to be able to outcompete other lizards – but this is a great opportunity for them to create predictions and test them when playing again!

Your results may look different – but that’s okay! That’s what science is like. Regardless of which factor causes your students to lose most often, there is always a solution they can test.

Does predator density affect how often you are attacked?

In the game, the longer you play, the more predators appear on the island. In the first 15 seconds, there are 2 predators. Between 16-30 seconds, there are 3 predators. And after 31 seconds, there are 4 predators! This means that it should become more risky as you continue to play. But does it?

We can use the graph below to check that out! Do you think there are more deaths the longer students play?

How do the different challenges interact with predator density?

Now that we know that predator density changes as we play, we can also look at how this may affect the other risks that your students (or lizards) encounter. If we look at the graph below, we can see how players lose in the game as predator density changes.

What do you see in this instance? Are the risks of getting knocked out the same as predator density increases? How about a player’s likelihood to starve?

In this instance, it looks like the risks of losing to another lizard increase when one predator is added – but so does the likelihood of getting eaten by a hawk! So that extra stress affects how players play.

But when the fourth hawk arrives, it seems that competition for food gets really intense as most of the players are dying.

Remember, your data will likely look different because you have different lizards with different behaviours in your class. But have fun exploring the data with your students as this is what science is all about!

Is basking linked to specific causes of death?

Basking restores temperature and health but requires the player to sit motionless in the sun rays, leaving them open to attacks from hawks and other lizards.

Here we group players by cause of death, and show that some causes of death are linked to a high basking rate (the fraction of your total lifetime spent basking) while other causes of death are linked to a low basking rate.

Let’s look at some more complex graphs for older students

How does the amount of food you collect affect your chance of survival?

Venturing out to gather food can be treacherous, crossing through the ice cold water lowers your temperature, and you’ll likely cross paths with deadly hawks and rival lizards. But food is important!

We can examine the graph below to see the relationship between how much food individuals collect and how long they survive. If you take a look, you’ll notice that there is a positive relationship – the more food you collect, the longer players survive. So collecting food is important!

The vertical red lines are when new predators are added. This allows you to see if there are slightly different patterns between the amount of food caught and survival when there are different densities of predators. In this case, it doesn’t really look like there is any difference.

How does the amount of time you spend basking affect your chance of survival?

Food isn’t the only thing important to lizards. They need to spend time in the sun to warm up their bodies so they can move more quickly. This is especially important so that lizards can escape predators. But basking has another advantage – lizards can increase their metabolism, which allows them to fight off disease.

In the graph below, you can take a look to see if there is a positive relationship between how long players bask and how long they survive (hint: there’s a positive relationship too!).

But here is an opportunity to compare the two graphs to see which is more important – basking or eating food? We can do that by comparing the slope of the line between the two graphs. The graph with the steeper slope means that there is a stronger relationship between those two factors.

At first, it looks like the amount of food is more important – but here is an opportunity to teach your students an important lesson! Although the line looks steeper in the food graph, the y-axis doesn’t have the same scale! this means that we can’t compare the two  slopes until the scales are the same. Something really important to know!

What is the relationship between basking and searching for food?

Remember when I mentioned trade-offs earlier? Well, this is the perfect time to check them out!

As you can imagine, when you’re basking, you can’t search for food. And if you’re searching for food, then you can spend enough time in the sun to warm up. but is that really the case? To show that trade-off, we need to look at the relationship between the basking rate and the feeding rate. If there truly is a trade-off, then there should be a negative relationship between those two behaviours.

If we look at the graph below, that’s exactly what we see! those individuals that spent more time basking, spent less time searching for food. So this graph shows how animals need to make decisions and do what they think is best because they can’t do everything all at once. Just like choosing whether to do homework or play video games.

Does basking have a benefit other than keeping you warm?

Earlier I mentioned that basking increases your body temperature in the game and that means that lizards can move more quickly. If lizards can move more quickly, they should have an advantage when trying to get away from predators. And that’s a question we can answer with the graph below!

If you take a look, we have the number of predator escapes on the y-axis. And on the x-axis is how much time players spent basking. As you’ll see, there is a positive relationship, meaning that those that spent more time basking had a great chance of successfully escaping a predator. Isn’t it nice when you can use data to test a prediction?

There are so many other graphs!

We still have other graphs that this game produces, so there is a lot for you to talk about with your students! But definitely don’t forget about the leaderboard that will allow you to call on some high-performing lizards in your class to share their secrets aboput living longer on Basker Island!

The most important thing to remember…

Is that you should just have fun. Students don’t often have many opportunities to explore data, so don’t worry about making things perfect and just let them explore and share their ideas. This is the first step to your students becoming better critical thinkers, and more successful lizards!

Once your students have explored the data after the first round of play, it’s time to get back into the game and test out some different strategies. Will basking less result in fewer deaths from hawks? What could you predict would become the greatest cause of death if all your students spend less time basking? At this stage, if you have your class discussing strategies, creating hypotheses together and testing those hypotheses by running Inglorious Baskers as an experiment – what have you created in your classroom in less than 10minutes? That’s right, scientists!