Discovering how the inhabitants of ecosystems interact is a little like assembling a complicated jigsaw puzzle. In this activity, students use what they have learned about fire, plants, animals, and succession to assemble jigsaw puzzles about some of the plant and animal communities in Missouri River Country: prairie (this activity doesn’t distinguish the different types of prairie), ponderosa pine forests, lodgepole pine forests, and whitebark pine forests. Students need to use information about many species-either from their previous study or from reading the clues on the puzzle pieces-to complete the puzzles correctly.
This is a quiet activity that can be done alone or in small groups. FireWorks contains four puzzle sets. If you want to set up only 1 station for the activity, put out only 1 set; if you want to set up multiple stations, put them in separate places so the pieces from different sets don’t get mixed up. This project can be assigned as seat work to fit in with other classroom activities, or set up at activity stations that one or a few students visit at a time.