Soil zoology - unrealistic soil living macro organisms


This is an image-selection exercise in which students are presented with large photos or photo-realistic representations of 20 existing and 2 fictional soil creatures. On the back of the pictures there are descriptions of the animals (and also false information about the fake creatures).

Description of the activity

Duration of the session: approx. 15 minutes

Materials needed:

  • 20 laminated chards (A5 size) of soil living animals with their description on the back
  • 2 laminated chards (A5 size) of fake creatures with their fake description on the back

Key issues: the morphological, size and colour diversity of soil living macro-organisms

Information to be provided to participants

Macro organisms live in a high variety of shapes and sizes in the soil, usually hidden from human eyes. This game gives an opportunity to get to know better of these soil organisms. The real aim of this game is not to find the two “alien species”, but to get to know the existing ones.

The task of the animator is to give as much information about the existing ones, as much is possible. Our cards focus on soil-living animals, but it can be extended to microorganisms also.

Interaction with the participants

There are about 20 laminated images of soil animals of different taxa (Collembola, Acari, Tardigrada, Annelidae, Fungi, etc.) and other macroorganisms.

These organisms have generally not been seen by the public. Some of them look as if they are alien, especially when magnified animals are shown. Two pictures show fake animals that do not exist.

Question to the audience: Among the 22 pictures which organism does not exist? Which are the fake ones?



An overview of the demonstration material for soil macro organism’s variety.
An overview of the demonstration material for soil macro organism’s variety.