Their voices shrieked with fun, anticipation and the just the fact they were outside running toward the field after a day of school. It was a bright afternoon with a few billowy white clouds and lots of March wind. We had to yell several times over the sound of the wind to "Stop, come back. We are playing the game here." They may have just kept on running and headed all the way down past the creek and into the next neighborhood if they hadn't heard us.
It was the first meeting of our after school Nature Club, organized for second through fourth graders. Twenty kids showed up, but for the moment they weren't students--they were predators and prey, or coyotes and rabbits.
They grasped the game rules and excitedly helped set up the boundaries. Rabbit food (math manipulatives) was sprinkled about. Members of the food chain took their places. Then the game of survival began.
It was a lot of fun. Predators and prey had several survival tricks they could use. As the game ended we called them over and discussed their observations linking it back to the science concepts we hoped would be understood. But as the game ended we spotted a bad sign in the sky. Two turkey vultures. Oh no, scavengers.