Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Oh Deer!

Candace Parker
Bay District Schools


Students interact as deer, food, water, and shelter in an activity to demonstrate how nature is constantly changing according to changes in the environment. They construct a graph to show this concept.


The student solves problems by generating, collecting, organizing, displaying, and analyzing data using histograms, bar graphs, circle graphs, line graphs, pictographs, and charts.

The student knows that the size of a population is dependent upon the available resources within its community.


-Project Wild K-12 Activity Guide, Western Regional Education Council, Inc. available through the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission
-Graph paper for each student
-Chart paper to record the results of each round in Oh Deer! Activity
-Student Response Sheet and Graph Scoring Rubric (See Associated File)
-An outside area big enough for two lines of students with 10-20 yards of space between them


-Locate and reserve an area in the schoolyard to play the activity, Oh Deer!.
-Read and become familiar with the directions to the Oh Deer! activity at the end of the Procedure section.
-Become familiar with graphing software such as -The Graph Club- that is available.
-Make copies of the Graph Scoring Rubric and the Student Response Sheet.


This activity should take place after students have studied the factors (the most fundamental of those being food, water, and shelter) that affect the ability of wildlife to successfully reproduce and maintain their populations over time. Students should have already studied how to make a line graph.

1. Review with students the components -food, water, shelter-- necessary to keep animal populations alive. Emphasize that wildlife populations are not static. They continuously fluctuate in response to the availability of these components.

2. Tell students that they are going to participate in an activity that will demonstrate this concept.

3. Take students outside to a predetermined area of the schoolyard.

4. Explain the activity, Oh Deer!, to the students. Use the directions for the activity found in the attached file.

5. Have the students -play- 12-15 rounds of the activity. The number of -deer- at the beginning of the activity and after each round should be recorded.

6. After students have returned to the classroom, review how a line graph is created. Also, review the use of graphing software such as -The Graph Club- produced by the Tom Snyder Company.

7. Give students the Graph Rubric to guide them as they create their own graph of the number of -deer- at the beginning of the activity and the ones left after each round. Students may use graph paper and pencil or a graphing software such as -The Graph Club- produced by the Tom Snyder Company.

8. Discuss the fluctuation of the -deer- population and how the amount of food, water, and shelter affected it in the activity. Through this discussion help students to understand that they saw a small herd of deer (for example, seven students in a class size of 28) begin the activity by finding more than enough of its habitat needs. As the deer population expanded over two to three of the rounds of the activity, the habitat was depleted and there was not sufficient food, water, and shelter for all the members of the herd. At that point in the activity, the deer starved or died of thirst or lack of shelter, and they returned as part of the habitat. Explain that this also happens in nature. Wildlife populations are constantly changing and will peak, decline, and rebuild and are dependent on the availability of their habitat needs just as happened in this activity.

9. Have students complete the student response sheet (see Illustration 1).

Oh Deer! Game Directions

1. Mark two parallel lines on the ground 10 to 20 yards a part. Ask students to count off in fours. The ones become the -deer- and line up behind one line with their backs to the other students. The other students become habitat components necessary to survive (food, water, and shelter) and line up behind the other line with their backs to the -deer.-

2. Explain that the deer need to find food, water, and shelter in order to survive in their environment. If they do not then they will die.

3. In this activity when the -deer- is looking for food, it should clamp its hands over its stomach. When a -deer- is looking for water, it should put its hand over its mouth. When a -deer- is looking for shelter, it holds its hands together over its head.

4. A -deer- can choose to look for any one of its needs during each round of the activity. Emphasize that the -deer- cannot change what it is looking for during a round. It can only change what is looking for at the beginning of each round.

5. The other students are the food, water, and shelter. Students get to choose what they want to be at the beginning of the round. They show their choices in the same way the -deer- have. Emphasize to these students that they cannot change what component they are during a round. They can only change at the beginning of each round.

6. The teacher should begin the first round by asking all students to make their signs - hand over stomach, mouth, or head. Emphasize that students should choose one of these symbols before turning around to face the other group.

7. When the students are ready, tell them to -GO!- At this time each -deer- and each -habitat component- turns to face the opposite group continuing to hold their sign clearly.

8. When the -deer- see the -habitat component- that matches what they need, they are to run to it. Each -deer- must hold the sign of what it is looking for until getting to the matching -habitat component.-

9. Once the -deer- find their correct component they should take it back to their line, and the -habitat component- becomes a -deer.- Any -deer- that fails to find its -habitat component- dies becomes a -habitat component- on the other side, and becomes available as food, water, or shelter to the -deer- still alive.

10. -Habitat components- not taken by a -deer- continue to be -habitat components.-

11. The activity should consist of 12-15 rounds. The teacher records the number of -deer- at the beginning of the activity and at the end of each round so that students can graph the results in the classroom.

Oh Deer Game Directions adapted from Project Wild Teacher's Guide
(See lesson activity materials list)


Student graphs should be assessed using the Graph Scoring Rubric.
Criteria for the graphs are:
Outstanding = 12/12 correct
Great job = 11/12 correct
You're getting there = 10/12 correct
Are you sure you understand? = 9/12 correct
Do Over Again = 8/12 or less.

The Student Response Sheet should be assessed using the following criteria:
Outstanding = 6/6 correct
Great job = 5/6 correct
You're getting there!= 4/6 correct
Are you sure you understand?= 3/6
See me and let's do it over. = less than 3/6 correct.

The Student Response Sheet and the Graph Scoring Rubric in the associated file.


-Students with exceptionalities or varying learner styles should work with regular classroom students on this project.

Attached Files

File Attachment     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.