University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Guppy Game

This game was designed to be used in a classroom with one teacher and about 10-30 students in groups of 4. The following materials are all available for free download on our website, and we have listed the recommended preparation or use for each material. The lesson linked below contains a detailed lesson plan with connections to NGSS, learning objectives, background knowledge, and suggested implementation in an integrated curriculum unit.

  • Guppy Game cards: double-sided color print on letter-size paper, cut and laminated
  • Guppy Game scorecards: single-sided grayscale print on letter-size paper, cut
  • Quickrules to guide students during gameplay: double-sided color print on letter-size paper, laminated

Additional materials you will need to play

  • Dice
  • Pencils

Game designed by Patrick Watson. Graphics and illustrations by Hillary Lauren.

The Guppy Game is a board game in which students take on the role of female or male guppies who are trying to survive and reproduce in various habitats, from the Amazon to a fish tank. Students record their successes and examine how visual perception or characteristics can be mitigated by the environment and affected by the selective pressures of evolution. For instance, a brightly colored male guppy cannot hide well from a predator, but he may be able to attract a mate more easily. A female guppy with a strong color preference (sensory bias) may be able to find food more easily, but could have a hard time choosing a mate.

Part of the curriculum unit: