Lakeville: Session 3

Lakeville ~ The Game

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INTRODUCTION: Lakeville is the finale of the prior two sessions or it can be presented as a stand-alone if more time is available and at least some background is provided. This game show-style activity provides students an opportunity to learn about the challenges associated with making natural resource management decisions in a local community by giving them a chance to participate in the process, firsthand. Six students are asked to serve as decision makers on a Citizen Advisory Panel and their classmates are asked to represent or advocate for "organisms" from a Florida freshwater habitat.

While role-playing as nature characters or "organisms," students are challenged to publicly advocate for their right to exist in the habitat and those serving on the Citizen Advisory Panel are asked to make resource management decisions by casting their vote at the end of each organism presentation. The fictitious local habitat is populated based on decisions made by the Citizen Advisory Panel. Students match their analytical skills with their new (or existing) knowledge about Florida’s freshwater ecosystems and process it in an activity that is engaging and fun. Props, such as the "Wheel of Focus" and citizen role hats, are icing on the cake.


  • Why do we need to "manage" plants and animals in our local habitats or ecosystems?
  • Who makes decisions about our own local ecosystem?
  • What can we do to be environmental stewards and responsible citizens?
  • How do political, economic or social concerns affect science or environmental community decisions?

SUBJECTS: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Mathematics (See NGSSS)


CONCEPTS (Science Big Ideas): ecosystem management, civic responsibility, debate (analyzing and communicating), effects of social and economic concerns on society, life cycle reproduction, animal life spans, plant uses and characteristics, nutrient uptake, identification of key-stone species, food web, disturbed areas, alternative energy sources, photosynthesis, oxygen concentrations, sustainability

OVERALL TIME ESTIMATES: One 45-minute session

LEARNING STYLES: Visual, auditory, kinesthetic

VOCABULARY: [Also see keywords chart and definitions] advocate, angler, aquatic plant, brackish, bulbils, cesspool, civic, citizen, commerce, community, developer, ecological significance, ecosystem, economic importance, emersed, endangered species, floating-leaved, habitat, herbivore, homeowner association, invasive, keystone species, local government, mangrove, native, non-native, noxious weed, poached, priority, pros and cons, public hearing, regulation, rhizome, scavenge, school board, spores, stolon, submersed, suburban, turion, terrestrial, tuberous, weed

SESSION SUMMARY: Students are provided with information cards to prepare them for their role-playing as a CITIZEN (serving on an Advisory Panel) or an ORGANISM Advocate. Six students receive CITIZEN Role Cards, which contain brief statements about their personal priorities for role-playing (e.g., as an angler, farmer, nature lover, etc.). Their classmates are given ORGANISM Role Cards, which provide background information about the plant or animal they will advocate for (i.e., native, non-native, or invasive and its ecological and economic value). After a quick analysis, student "organisms" take turns advocating for their right to remain in the habitat and the Citizen Advisory Panel take turns deciding on their fate using a numeric voting / scoring system.

Classification data about the plants and animals, and decisions made by the panel, are tracked by all students using scorecards at their desk and also with a large format habitat poster (in the front of the room) that is gradually populated with organisms that have been allowed to populate the ecosystem.

The activity ends with a discussion about (1) the pros and cons of the various native, non-native and invasive components found in a Florida ecosystem; (2) the necessity to make wise management decisions; and (3) the students’ future responsibility as environmental stewards. This game can be played multiple times. Each time, the population of the ecosystem will be different based on who is voting on the Citizen Advisory Panel and how effective each "organism" is at advocating for its right to stay in the habitat.

STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to…

  • Explain the importance of different plants and animals inhabiting a freshwater ecosystem.
  • Identify ecosystem decision makers.
  • Explain how political, economical or social concerns may affect science or environmental community decisions that should be based on science.
  • Identify ways that we can be environmental stewards, responsible citizens.

ESSENTIAL MATERIALS: See Essential Materials section below

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS: See Supplemental Materials section below

PRE-SESSION RESEARCH (IMPORTANT) See Background Information for Session 1 and in this Teacher Guide.

  1. Display large format freshwater habitat scene and scoreboard
  2. Display Organism icons: print & tape to the board or borrow organism magnets (contact:
  3. Arrange 6 chairs in front of the room for the CITIZEN ADVISORY PANEL or put 1-2 long tables side-by-side. Optional: tablecloths, cardholders, Citizen Panel costumes/props)
  4. Podium for ORGANISM advocate (plant/animal speaker) or stand at desk. Optional: portable microphone.
  5. Set up hat or basket with organism names or photos for students to select organism for each round OR (optional) set up WHEEL OF FOCUS in front of the classroom with organism wedges.
  6. Set up CD player with CD of the 5 management songs (optional)

OVERVIEW (for the teacher)

  1. Six students are selected to serve on the Citizen Advisory panel. This can be done on a volunteer basis or assigned by the teacher. These students will then randomly select a citizen role by drawing the role name from a hat or basket. Once the Citizen Advisory Panel is selected and assembled at the front of the class, each panel member will read her/his identity aloud and then display the card in front of them. They can start with "Hello, my name is __________…." and then say what their priorities are as a local Citizen.
  2. All other students will play "nature characters" and are given a Organism Card, which contains illustrations and information about a specific plant or animal commonly found in or near a Florida freshwater habitat. Students will use this information as background knowledge for their role-playing. If selected (i.e., by the Wheel of Focus), she/he will be asked to "advocate" for their organism in front of the Citizen Advisory Panel. Their job is to analyze the information from their Organism Card and/or their own knowledge, and use essential facts they think are important enough to influence decisions of the Advisory Panel. Recommended that students work in pairs or teams.
  3. Data Score Sheets and Citizen and Organism Analysis Worksheets are distributed to the entire class so everyone can keep track of how the habitat will be populated based on decisions of the Advisory Panel. The Data Score Sheets can be used later for discussion or data analysis and the Citizen/Organism Analysis Worksheets can be used to review priorities from role playing.
  4. Teacher may choose teams to advocate for a specific organism or… OPTIONAL: The Wheel of Focus (i.e. adapted from a prize wheel) is used to randomly select the specific organisms that will speak at the meeting, one at a time. A student can be assigned to Wheel of Focus duty or the teacher might want to.
  5. The Citizen Advisory Panel listens to the organism advocate for its right to stay in the habitat (for 3 minutes) and may respond with questions. Based on the information provided by the organism and/or their own knowledge, members of the Citizen Advisory Panel vote using the scorecards provided. The score they choose (ranging from 1-10) reflects whether the organism should be removed, managed to keep at a minimum population, protected, or promoted. For example: A score of 1 is the lowest and earns a "seek and destroy" rating; a score of 10 means they want to restore or promote this organism within the habitat.
  6. Individual panel member scores are then added for a total score that is used to determine the chosen "Management Plan." A student "organism" representative places 1-5 organisms in habitat, based on the total score.


VALUE Range Management Plan (and song) Organism Population
Seek and destroy/ PROHIBIT
Keep It Under Control!
Conservation: Let it Grow
Place 1 organism icon in habitat
Place 2 organism icons in habitat
Place 3 organism icons in habitat
Place 4 organism icons in habitat
Place 5 organism icons in habitat

OVERVIEW (for the class)
INTRODUCE ACTIVITY TO THE CLASS ~ Why does this matter? [time est: 5-10 minutes]

  1. Start by asking how many students have ever pulled a weed in their yard or a community garden? Have they ever planted anything? Inform students that these actions make them a land manager—they are making conscious decisions about the management of the land around them. Discuss the types of decisions their parents make about their yard and/or neighborhood.
  2. Discuss the concept of ecosystems. Are they part of an ecosystem? Talk about the types of decisions made every day about their local ecosystem and/or natural areas such as county, state and federal parks. Discuss the reasons why land is managed. Revisit information learned from the Silent Invaders presentation (i.e., impacts of invasive plants).
  3. Explain: The class is about to make decisions about plant and wildlife management in a Florida freshwater ecosystem by role-playing in a Public Hearing. We are here to decide how a particular natural area will be managed; it includes a lake, meadow and a forest that are used and enjoyed by the community. [Show habitat poster] Be sure to ask: why is this important? Why do they imagine that anything about plants, animals and a local lake might be worth our consideration? Write the answers on the board or large format notepad on easel, if possible. Discuss: These types of meetings take place all of the time. How many students have been to a City / County Commission meeting or a Home Owner Association Meeting?

Let’s Play!
The following steps are suggestions of how to play this game. Of course, class time and teaching styles will result in it being done differently almost every time; do what works best for you and your students.

  1. Set up the Citizen Advisory Panel and Organism teams: Begin by identifying six students who will role-play as citizens on the Citizen Advisory Panel. Then organize the rest of the class into teams of 2-3 students (each team will represent a different organism—plant or animal). Ideally, the Citizen Advisory Panel will be asked to sit at a table at the front of the classroom and organism teams will sit together in the classroom, so they can discuss strategy, etc.
  2. Distribute print materials to the Citizen Advisory Panel and Organism teams as follows:
    • CITIZENs should receive a complete set of scorecards (8.5" x 11" sheets with numbers, ranging from 1-10) and also their respective Citizen Role Card, based on the role they have been assigned or selected for. Note: The role cards provide specific character traits for them to students or they can develop their own personality or character traits.
    • ORGANISM teams (or individuals) should receive an Organism Role Card. Each card contains important information about the organism: is it aquatic or terrestrial? native, non-native or invasive, life history, economic and ecological value, etc.
    • ALL STUDENTS should receive:
      • Citizen and Organism Analysis Worksheets to use for analyzing their role as a citizen and/or organism and to make notes
      • Data Score Sheets to keep track of votes/decisions made by the Citizen Panel
  3. Designate an official score keeper and someone to spin the pull organism names out of a hat or (optional) spin the Wheel of Focus for each round. (See "Overview – for the teacher")
  4. Give students time to read their respective Citizen and/or Organism Role Cards and makes notes about the role they will play. Each student should be able to analyze the information they are provided and identify their own priorities (what is important to their survival and quality of life in that environment), based on the role they are playing as a citizen or an organism.
  5. Begin with this discussion: "This community meeting is scheduled to last for ____ minutes (length of time remaining in class), so we may not have time to hear from every organism today. The Wheel of Focus will tell us which organisms get their cases made today, and in what order. But don’t worry – there may be other meetings, and other chances to advocate. In reality, these meetings sometimes last for hours and the public hearing process can last weeks, months—even years! Our classroom version is condensed.
  6. Review the scoring procedure: Revisit who the management decision makers (Citizen Panel) are and their priorities. Ask Panel to show their scorecards. After each organism advocate speaks, the panel will vote on how important they think that creature is for the habitat. If they think it’s VERY important, they might give it a score of 10 — the top score. If they’d really rather not have it around, they might give it a score of 1. In other words: A score of 10 to promote it; 1 to "mow it."
  7. Ready to Go! It’s time for a student to draw an organism name from a hat or spin the WHEEL… OF…FOCUS!! Once an organism is selected, that student (or team) is asked to stand at their desk or come to the podium and make their case by presenting at least one attribute (but no more than three) that should be considered for keeping the organism in the habitat.
  8. Organism Presentation: [IMPORTANT] Before a student shares her/his presentation, she/he MUST clarify the following (1) is the organism aquatic or terrestrial? (2) native, non-native or invasive? When the organism advocate is finished presenting, each panel member is invited to ask one question. Be sure to limit it to a few questions and watch the time. [IMPORTANT] Questions should be relevant to their priorities as a Citizen (and not silly questions).
  9. Time to Vote! Based on the presentation, Citizen Advisory Panel members vote with their scorecards. A total score is calculated and a management plan is determined based on the total score. The class records these scores and other relevant data on the data score sheets at their desk. The organism (student) then comes to the front of the room to place the appropriate number of organism icons (image or magnet) in the large format habitat poster. The number of organisms placed in the habitat corresponds to the management level attained (Level 1 = 1 icon, level 2 = 2 icons, etc). They should be placed in the appropriate place within the habitat. For example, a gopher tortoise should not be placed in the water. Note: Playing the theme song for each management plan is optional. Also, if available, classmates can populate the habitat scene at their desks using the DIY magnetic game sets.
  10. Repeat until every organism has had a chance to present or until the class session is about to end. When class time is nearly up, the teacher announces the final round and the final organism presents and places its icon(s) in the habitat after the Panel votes. Note: Teachers recommend working with 12 organisms to assure that every student has a chance to participate in the time allotted.
  11. Wrap it up! While looking at the Habitat poster in the front of the class…
    • Count how many organisms are native; how many are non-native; how many invasive?
    • Notice how the different priorities of the Citizen Panel influenced the decisions about which organisms are found in the habitat. Ask the students: "How did this activity help you understand the complexities of making management decisions about our natural resources?" [Ask for specific examples.]
    • Finally, discuss what students can do to become environmental stewards as adults?


  1. Teaching Points about native, non-native and invasive plants, available in the Resource section of our website:
  2. The National Invasive Species Council published an official "White Paper" with clear and concise definitions of the terms "non-native" and "invasive" species, along with many examples of the damage being done by invasive species. See "ISAC Definitions White Paper" at
  3. Additional information about invasive plants in aquatic ecosystems:


  1. For Objective #1, #2, #3 — Discuss results of Citizen and Organism Analysis Worksheets and Data Score Sheets.
  2. For Objectives # 3 and #4 — Ask students to answer the following questions either in discussion form or written form to be collected with the Data Score Sheets.
    • Identify people in your school or community that make decisions about the environment and explain the processes they use to make decisions.
    • Identify opportunities you have to make your opinion heard about local environmental issues.
  3. Evaluate presentations/role-playing exhibited by students.

Students read "Weed Alert" and create a five-line jingle or Public Service Announcement
In your pond, if you grew
Flowers of lavender blue,
They double in size in two weeks.
If you’re not careful,
They will clog the creeks.


  1. Images and information about plants in Florida
  2. Understanding Invasive Aquatic Plants (Florida Edition) Activity Book (PDF)
  3. Aquatic Plants: Underwater Forests of Lakes and Rivers (PDF)

Essential Materials

available from UF/IFAS CAIP via DVD or the web

Do It Yourself Ideas – See DIY Resources on DVD.
12 Citizen Role cards
Single | 4 Per Page
Cards provide brief descriptions and priority statements for role-playing on the Citizen Advisory Panel.
[Printed on both sides; image on front/text on back, 8.5" x 11"]
Citizen Roles: angler, boater, developer, farmer, lake resource manager, politician, nature lover, manufacturer, ski club president, restaurant owner, retiree, wild card (student decides)
Students role-play from their own experience and knowledge
30 Organism Role Cards
Single | 3 Per Page
[Info & attributes for 30 different plants and animals; teachers and/or students choose a number of organisms to work with depending on time available, 8.5" x 11"]

  • Native plants: pickerelweed, duck potato, eel grass, fragrant waterlily, duckweed, poison ivy, cat-tails
  • Non-Native Plants: coconut palm, hibiscus, Canadian water weed, orange tree, peanut plant
  • Invasive Plants: air potato, hydrilla, water hyacinth, Old World climbing fern, tuberous sword fern, wild taro
  • Native animals: American alligator, gopher tortoise, manatee, snail kite, largemouth bass
  • Invasive animals: Gambian pouch rat, iguana, monk parakeet, island apple snail, Burmese python, sailfin catfish, red imported fire ant
Available on Lakeville DVD or website
Create your own from blank template
30 Organism Icons to be used in a habitat scene
Single | 6 Per Page
Three options:

  • For magnetic dry-erase boards, borrow "Organism Magnets" from CAIP. Note: A complete set has 5 each of 30 different organisms (150 magnets); 3" x 5"
  • For document camera (ELMO), see PDF file of organisms; print and cut-out game set (5 each of 30 organisms)
  • For Smart Boards, use graphic files (individual jpegs) to drag and drop into scene
This can be as simple or as involved as you like. All of the files are on DVD or online or students can make their own.
Scorecard sets
To be used by Citizen Advisory Panel members
Each set contains 10 cards (8.5"x11"), numbered 1-10.
Total classroom set = 60 printed scorecards (6 x 10 cards per set)
6 small dry erase boards or notebook paper to write score (from 1 to 10) and students hold-up for class to see
Data Score Sheet  
Citizen Role and Organism Role Analysis Worksheets  
Large Format Freshwater Habitat Scene
Display poster (44" x 26") or project via ELMO
Color PDF | B/W PDF
Print out large format copy of the habitat and draw organisms on the habitat or post a FL freshwater scene on the board. Include water (a pond or lake), trees, an open field next to the water, buildings, boats, etc. IMPORTANT: If printing, use thin paper. Lamination or thick paper causes magnets not to stick.

Supplemental Materials

for assistance with these items, contact

Do It Yourself Ideas – See DIY Resources on DVD.
Large writing tablet on easel
Or access to chalkboard or smart board
Wheel of Focus (Prize Wheel)
Available on loan or with school demonstration provided by UF/IFAS CAIP.
Example Image | Individual Wedges (PDF)
Teacher chooses each student (organism) at random or by pulling names out of a hat or students create small hand-held “Wheel of Focus." For instructions:
Table-top prize wheels available:
5 Management songs to play or sing while students place organisms in habitat
Available on DVD and website (MP3 Files)
Song 1 | Song 2 | Song 3 | Song 4 | Song 5
Students make up their own chant (i.e., One and Done, Four You Score…Five Survive, etc.)
Table-Top Magnetic Game Sets (Not available through CAIP, DIY only)
To be used one set per/2 students at desk or for learning stations
Print small format habitat and print icons onto printable magnetic paper and cut out. Use a tin or steel cookie sheet that magnets will stick to (aluminum doesn’t work).
6 document holders for displaying Citizen Role Cards
(in front of each advisory panel member)
Students hold the cards themselves
Hat or bowl…
For randomly selecting students to serve on Citizen Advisory Panel
Ask 6 students to volunteer or choose them
Costumes/Props for the Citizen Advisory Panel
Suggestions: straw hat for farmer, sunglasses for angler, luau flowers for retirees, etc.
Affordable sets of hats, sunglasses, bandanas, and other costume/prop ideas at OR have students bring in props
1) Magnifying glasses (provided by UF/IFAS CAIP)
2) Pencils (provided by UF/IFAS CAIP)
Smarties candy –Thank you for being a smarty & learning something about natural resource management
LifeSavers candy -Thank you for being a lifesaver for the environment!
3" x 4" sticky notes
To place on organism cards (to record pros and cons)
Make your own