An experiential game highlighting the essential interdependence of living things.

What you need

  • A ball of string or wool
  • Family members in your bubble

What to do

  1. Form a circle around a tree.
  2. Ask who would like to be a tree. Give this person the end of a ball of string to hold.
  3. Ask what animal might live in the tree. Unwind the string to the person who will be that animal (eg bird)
  4. Ask what could the animal need to survive. Unwind the string to the person who will be that thing. Continue this way until you have everyone playing the part of leaves, caterpillars, soil, worms, water etc.
  5. Show how you are all connected by explaining that if one element was removed the whole web would collapse – tug on one string and everyone who feels a pull then pulls until the web collapses.

Connections in an ecosystem

Diagram of the connections in an ecosystem

The diagram shows some of the connections in a typical New Zealand native community or ecosystem. These connections can be between the environment and living things, and also between different living things, eg plants and animals.

Energy (represented by the arrows in the diagram) passes from the sun to plants to animals and other organisms. Soil, water and nutrients make up an important part of the ecosystem and provide a rich environment where living things can thrive.

A healthy ecosystem is where the connections are intact and no part of the ecosystem is disrupted. A healthy environment is also dependent on clean air and water and available nutrients

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