Symbiotic Relationships | C, L, B
Concept & Research
Symbiotic relationships between animals are complex and drive a multitude of essential functions in a healthy ecosystem. We created a matching game and accompanying interactive app where children find pairs of animals that work together in symbiosis. Our demographic for this product were 4th grade students, since basic science is something being introduced at that age.
We realized this tool can be used to introduce the basics of symbiosis as well as a few greater lessons. We focused our the messaging of this game and interactive product on topics teachers could use to drive discussion, like teamwork, sustainability, asking for help, doing good, ecosystems, and more.
B is for Bacteria
Bacteria help humans digest food that we’re unable to digest on our own, among other things. I wanted to represent bacteria in a more inviting form that would appeal to a younger audience, which is why I anthropomorphized them and illustrated food that’s recognizable as things we’d be eating as well.
C is for Carrier Crab
Carrier Crabs carry urchins on their back as they travel from reef to reef. They offer the urchins transportation, and urchins offer the crabs protection with their spiky bodies. These crabs usually travel in groups, so I chose to show a pair of crabs on the card. In the interactive piece, the user helps the crab and urchin complete their journey to a new reef.
L is for Lemur
Lemurs digest the seeds of large hardwood trees in Madagascar and spread them as they travel the island. Lemurs and hardwood trees have an important relationship. Without lemurs to digest the tree seeds, hardwood trees might stop germinating entirely. In the interactive piece, I illustrated the reason that their relationship is important to Madagascar as a whole, while still explaining the core relationship between the two.
Designing for children and for teachers is a more in depth task than some designers would immediately assume. When designing a game like this for teachers, you need to balance solving for a particular ask while making it versatile enough to be used in an already existing lesson plan. When designing a product for children, the types of affordances and gestures that are effective aren’t necessarily the same as what we’d design for adults. Working on this project reinforced to me the importance of doing background research and understanding the mindset of your users.
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.