Symbiosis Activities & Games

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Teaching your students about the different types of relationships between living things? Use this lesson as a helpful source of activities and games that keep your students engaged in learning about symbiosis.

Symbiosis Activities

Trifold Poster

Students get to compare and contrast the three symbiosis relationships with this activity.


  • Trifold poster - or large poster folded into three sections
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • If computers are available, students may use technology to enhance posters
  • Resources on symbiosis (mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism)


  • Students will work individually or with a partner.
  • Talk to students about the three relationships in symbiosis.
  • Invite students to create a trifold poster comparing and contrasting the three types of symbiosis.
  • Students will provide the following information on each relationship:
    • Define and explain the type of relationship.
    • Provide at least 2 examples of living things using this type of symbiosis.
    • How is it different or the same as the other types?
    • Other interesting information.
  • Provide students with ample time to complete the poster. Circulate to help and monitor students.
  • Students will display their posters within the classroom or the school when finished.

Sorting Things Out

Students sort pairs of living things into the type of relationship they have.


  • Premade cards with pictures/names of living things for each group
  • Category headings: Mutualism, Commensalism, Parasitism
    • Tip: The cards and headings can be created by hand or with the use of technology


  • Students may work in groups of 2-4.
  • Review the three symbiosis relationships.
  • Describe how students must first pair the living things together that have a relationship. Then, they sort the pairs into the category of symbiosis they use.
    • Example: The Nile crocodile and the Egyptian plover would go together under mutualism.
  • Hand out the category headings for each group.
  • Provide each group of students with the cards that need to be paired then sorted.
  • Allow students time to accurately pair the cards up and place them into the correct category.
  • Review as a class or have students meet with another group to review.


  • Challenge students to complete this sort within a certain amount of time.
  • Groups could compete against one another to see who can correctly sort their cards first.

Symbiosis Games

Go Fish to Find a Friend

This game is just like Go Fish! Students are pairing up living organisms that share some type of relationship.


  • Deck of living organism cards for each group
    • Tip: You could use the cards from the 'Sorting Things Out' activity .
  • Scoring sheet for each group


  • Students may play in groups of 3-4.
  • Ask students if they recall ever playing Go Fish? Discuss.
  • Invite students to play in their own game of Go Fish only this is all about animal relationships! They will have to pair off their cards in order to find all of the relationship combinations in the deck. Each living organism card has a partner.
  • Depending on your group of students, you may opt to model the game.
  • Pass out cards to each group and allow students to begin play.

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