In this game, students become predators and they are tasked with the goal of surviving as long as they can by eating different bugs. In this way, students learn about how difficult it is for predators to find prey and how prey protect themselves from predators.
Playing Xenon Crowe
Once your students have entered their class code and their Arludo ID, they’re ready to play! We encourage students to talk to one another and give each other tips on how best to survive. you’ll naturally see students having fun and trying to beat each other’s scores.
You should aim for at least 3 play sessions and it’s nicer with 5 play sessions as there are more data to see the pattern. If anything, you will have to stop your students from playing more as they’ll be having fun!
After your students have played a few rounds, you can move on to the second YouTube video where you will see Fonti and I play as well. It’s up to you whether you let your students play along during the video or after the video. We’ll be looking through some of the data in the video together.
Let’s take a look at the data
This is what Arludo does best – we aggregate all those data for you and visualise it. This is where I’ll describe the data so you can see what to expect.
We noticed early on that there are a lot of competitive folks out there! This adds a little fun and encourages those students that normally don’t consider themselves scientists to play a little more and a little longer. And we’re starting to notice that this makes a difference for those students.
Have a little fun with this! You can also use it to encourage students to play through round 3-5. But there are ways you can use this. Here are some examples of ways you can use it:
- Ask the higher ranking students to explain what they did to get such a high score. Was there a strategy?
- Start a competition where the top 3 get a prize – but they have to explain their strategy!
- Ask students not on the list which bugs they were targeting.
- Ask students not on the list what they will try and do next to get on the top 10 list
This graph displays the average amount of time that players survived each round. On the x-axis are the rounds that your class played. On the y-axis the amount of time that students survived. What you notice is that, on average, students survived for longer the more rounds they played. That means that they are learning how to be better predators!
Here are some questions you can ask them:
- Why do you think we are surviving for longer?
- Do you think that our survival is associated with any specific bugs?
- What is your prediction about the types of bugs we ate and how long we survived – state this prediction with respect to the different types of bugs
- How would you test this prediction using the game?
Number of Camouflaged Bugs Eaten
This graph shows the number of camouflaged bugs that students ate each round. The x-axis is the same and on the y-axis we have the number of bugs of this type eaten. What you’ll notice is that they are eating more camouflaged bugs – that means they are getting better at finding them!
Here are some questions you can ask your students:
- Why did each of you find only a few camouflaged bugs at the start?
- How come you found so many more camouflaged bugs at the end?
- What happened when you ate the camouflaged bugs? Did it want to make you eat more or less of them?
- What would you predict would happen if you ate more camouflaged bugs?
Number of Poisonous Bugs Eaten
This graph shows the number of poisonous bugs that students ate each round. The scientific term for poisonous bugs is aposematic.
The x-axis is the same and on the y-axis we have the number of bugs of this type eaten. What you’ll notice is that they are eating fewer poisonous bugs – this is despite them being easy to find! It that means they are learning to avoid the nasty bugs.
Here are some questions you can ask your students:
- Why did we eat so many colourful bugs at the beginning?
- Why did we eat fewer bugs at the end?
- What would you predict would happen if you ate more poisonous bugs?
- Why do you think the poisonous bugs are so colourful?
Number of Startle Bugs Eaten
This graph shows the number of startle bugs that students ate each round. The scientific term for these bugs is deimatic. The startle bugs are the bugs that were camouflaged until you found them, and when students tried to eat them, they flashed on the screen!
Again, the x-axis is the different rounds and on the y-axis we have the number of bugs of this type eaten. What you’ll notice is that they are eating more of the startle bugs as they go along. Once again, it means they are getting better at finding them and have learned that these bugs are safe to eat.
One interesting aspect is comparing these results to the results on the camouflaged bugs – if you compare the y-axis on each of the graphs, you’ll notice that although they have the same pattern, the numbers are larger for the camouflaged bugs. That means that players aren’t eating as many of these as they are the regular camouflaged bugs that don’t startle.
This may be a tough graph to explore for younger students, but here are some questions:
- Were there any weird bugs that were different to the other bugs? What did those bugs do?
- What do you think the benefit of startling your predator is?
- Why are fewer of these bugs eaten compared to the regular camouflaged bugs?
By the end of this lesson, the goal is for students to start making their first corrleations. That means, they need to understand that the reason that players are surviving for longer is because they are eating more camouflaged and startle prey that are safe to eat, while eating fewer of the colourful bugs that are poisonous. Ask students what made them realise which were safe to eat.
To test their understanding, you can ask them what would happen if there were more colourful bugs in this world – what would happen to player survival?
Sometimes you may see that the patterns change after a certain point. For example, the number of poisonous bugs eaten may increase again. That’s normal and may result from players testing the different bugs again, or getting nervous that they are about to die. You can ask their opinion on this.
Whatever happens, remember that these are data that you created. If you’re not sure what to think, ask your students! You’ll be amazed with the answers they give you given their experience playing through the game.
This experiment can lead to a lot more discussion. Follow what interests your students. Below are some suggestions.
Ask your students is to find real-life examples of each of these types of bugs in Australia. There are numerous examples of each of these within Australia. Make a presentation and describe this organism to the class.
What would happen if there were a lot more poisonous bugs that camouflaged bugs in the cave? What would happen to the average survival of everyone?
What would happen if the poisonous bugs made your screen funny, but didn’t cost you any life points? Would that have changed what you chose to eat?