At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Biology

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University


  • Evolution

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Gaming & role-playing
  • Creating & designing
  • Reading
  • Taking a quiz & test

Technical Details


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Preparation & knowledge activation
  • Application & knowledge building


The aim of this activity is to introduce the concept of an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) and cement the idea with a memorable counter example. Using self made, specially designed dice, students explore the concept of non-transitivity.

Students are assigned one of three dice configurations and invited to repeatedly roll against the other two, with the goal of determining which, if any, is best. The reproductive strategies of the side blotched lizard are discussed.

Useful videos:

Useful Articles:

Instructional Objectives

  • Students will be able to explain evolutionary stable strategy
  • Students will be able to describe non-transitivity using a self-made specially designed dice

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

  • The dice provide a memorable example of non-transitivity which is based on numerical values as opposed to an arbitrary system (Rock Paper Scissors).
  • Mathematically inclined students can derive the answer from the values of the dice faces.
  • Assign one configuration of die to each group, discourage sharing of configurations.
  • The activity is faster when altering existing dice.

Applied Strategies


Leave a comment! Activities get better when we receive feedback and understand how they might be adapted and reused. Please let us know what you think after using this Activity, or if you have questions about how it might be used differently.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *