30 minutes

Students will demonstrate that species or populations display a habitat preference and the available habitat will influence abundance.


This lesson is based on the party game ‘Musical Chairs’. Ensure you have a large enough space to carry out the game safely.

Each student will require a species card from either Teacher Resource Sheet: Preferred (Northern) or Preferred (Southern).

  1. Conduct this activity in a similar manner as in the Lesson: Musical Habitats. Choose to use either Teacher Resource Sheet: Preferred (Southern) or Preferred (Northern) and give each student a species card from your chosen set. On this occasion place a coloured dot on each chair.
  2. Explain to the students the dots represent different areas of a marine habitat and each marine species with have a specific habitat preference.
  3. Start the music.
  4. Students ‘swim around the area’ where the chairs are set up. When the music stops, the students must dive for cover, to a home that corresponds to their colour.
  5. Progress through the game as per musical chairs, removing the different fish homes each time the music stops.
  6. Play until only one fish habitat for each area is left.
  7. Bring the participants together and discuss the importance of different types of homes for different fish. What happens if these homes are damaged or polluted?
  8. Play the game again, introducing an additional aspect to the game. Allocate different food types to different participants (fish) and indicate where this food is found by using labels on the chairs. This gives fewer choices of suitable home and will make the game more complex.
  9. At the end of the second game, discuss the relationship between habitat, a safe home and food supply. A wider choice is better. At the beginning of the game there were a lot of places to hide. When ‘habitat was lost’ it became harder to find a safe home with adequate food. Why then, is it important for us to conserve fish habitats?
Teacher Resource Sheets

Preferred (Northern)

Preferred (Southern)



Abiotic, adaptation, biotic, competition, coral, ecosystem, flora, fauna, generalist, habitat, habitat preference, limestone, mangrove, niche, outcompete, seagrass, specialist