Social and Group Behavior

Early Elementary

Student Wondering

Why do some animals live alone while others live together?

Collect and Conquer


Students explore the difference in hunting in groups versus hunting alone.


Printed Material

1 Student Journal: Collect and Conquer! (per student)

1 Sample Data Table (per teacher)

1 Student CER (per student)


5 Bowls (per class)

1 Pencil (per student)


4 Bags of pasta shells (per class)


Student Journal: Collect and Conquer!


Divide pasta between the trays and place them across the room from where students will begin.

This activity may require varying levels of participation. You may want to begin with five students gathering food individually or allow all students to go at one time.

Visit Site  STEMcoach in Action

Is it more beneficial for animals to hunt alone or in groups? This is the question that your students will explore. Be sure to discuss the limitations of this model with your students. How could you revise the model? (Maybe you could have the unskilled hunter tape their thumb down.) What patterns did they notice in their data chart? How does this relate to the organisms in our community? Give students time to reflect before calling on them. This may be done by allowing them time to write, discuss with a friend, or just quiet time. Learn more about how to use “Level of Questioning” and facilitate learning in your classroom here.

Procedure and Facilitation Points

  1. Place students into groups of five. Allow students to select (or the teacher may identify), one student in each group to represent a less-skilled gatherer of food. The less-skilled gatherer will only be allowed to pick up as much pasta as he or she can grasp with their thumb and forefinger. The remaining students in the group represent highly skilled food gatherers. They will be allowed to pick up as much pasta as they can using their entire hand.
  2. On your signal, allow the students to walk across the room and gather their pasta (food) in the appropriate manner (either whole-hand, or thumb and finger).
  3. Have students complete the first part of their Student Journal, identifying the amount of food they were able to collect on their own.
  4. Direct students to combine all of the food gathered by the members their group into a single pile, the divide it equally back out among the members of the group.
  5. Have students complete the second part of the Student Journal.
  6. Discuss:
    • Do you think skilled hunters are always successful in getting food? Yes…no, they may sometimes not do as well.
    • What could be the reason they would not do as well? If they were sick or hurt they may not hunt as well.
  7. Have students complete the CER based on their experience.
  8. After completing the CER, have students complete the reflection portion of their Student Journal.
  9. Other discussion questions to be completed after the CER:
    • Did you get more food when you hunted alone or when your group shared all portions evenly? I got more food when my group shared food.
    • How does belonging to a group benefit you? I get more food. I don’t have to worry if I am not successful at hunting every time.
    • How else does living in a group benefit animals? They have protection from predators.

Prompt (CER)

Write a scientific explanation for or against hunting or gathering food in groups. Make a claim and state your evidence and reasoning.

Sample Claim: Hunting or gathering food in a group helps the group members survive.

Sample Evidence: Everyone had an equal share in the group. The individual had less food to eat. The groups with more members collected more food.


Student CER


Teacher Rubric with

Sample Student Responses