MacKenzie Karwas

Symbiotic Relationships: I, M, V

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Concept & Research

At a young age it is difficult to find learning fun and even more difficult to keep young children engaged in lesson plans. The ABC’s of symbiotic relationships strives to keep kids active, social and improve their understanding of relationships within the ecosystem. Our project is targeted towards early elementary and primary school kids as well as teachers. 

Our hope is that children will find their matching pair, learn about team work and a little something about different eco systems. In order for the game to be successful each student is given at least one card and reads the clues in order to find their match. The game also gives clues such as colors and QR codes to make sure you found your match. 

This big picture is that students must work together in order to be successful. Each game comes with a set of key concepts that the teacher can use to take the lesson plan one step further. Each letter has an interactive component that would work on an iPad to dig deeper and find even more information!  

I is for Imperial Shrimp

The imperial shrimp lives way down on the oceans floor where he works with sea cucumber to find food for one another. The ocean floor can be a scary place so the sea cucumber acts as protection and transportation for the imperial shrimp. My goal while creating the imperial shrimp was to illustrate how two separate creatures can help one another survive. I created the happy go lucky imperial shrimp in Illustrator along with all of the coral and ocean plants. The sea background was created by using paintbrush tool in photoshop. In the interaction you can see how the shrimp has little mobility but still moves around the ocean.

Mockup of Imperial interaction in an iPad and printed card next to it. Imperial Shrimp is happy swimming in a blue ocean with pink coral.
Imperial Shrimp Spread
Video of Imperial Shrimp Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App

M is for Microhylid

The microhylid is a type of small frog that often times has a hard time fighting off his prey. The giant tarantula acts as protection in exchange for food that the microhylid attracts. In order to illustrate the microhylid looking for protection I had him hiding behind his letter “M” in a small body of water in the tropical forest waiting for the giant tarantula to protect him. I used photoshop to paint the frog and the water in the background. In the interaction you can help the frog catch small flies so he can feed the tarantula.  

Mockup of microhylid interaction in an iPad and printed card next to it. The microhlid is looking around hiding behind the M looking for protection.
Microhylid Spread
Video of Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App

V is for Vulture

This card is of the vulture who works with the quoll to protect animals and get fed. The quoll will leave leftover food for the vulture who will pick it up and eat it so other animals do not. The vulture can digest tough foods that most animals can’t without getting sick. In order to demonstrate this I illustrated the vulture in his mountains habitat sitting high above the ground looking for his food. The interaction shows how the vulture can digest tough foods.

Mockup of vulture interaction in an iPad and printed card next to it. The vulture is sitting on top of a mountain behind a sunset looking for food.
Vulture Spread
Video of Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App



The big thing I took out of this project is that putting in time for ideas and iterations pays off. Working with 9 people on a project there were a lot of ideas that were floating around however we didn’t rush the process and carefully deliberated before coming to a decision on our concept. We set design restraints but allowed for creative freedom within each card resulting in a diverse set of cards. Although they all have different styles they match well from their color schemes and QR codes. Overall I feel due to this iteration our team created a really unique, succsesful project. 

Photo of Cards M, V, T
Photo of Cards M, V, T

Downloadable Assets

You may use the below assets created for this project provided via Figma as long as you give attribution, share your outcomes, and if your use is non-commercial in nature.

The above work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License