Interactions are at the core of many ecological and evolutionary forces in nature. Plant–soil interactions provide a rich example of the interconnectedness of living systems, but they are hidden from everyday view and overshadowed in the classroom by more popular teaching examples involving animals, reptiles, or invertebrates. To highlight the importance and relevance of plant–soil relationships, we devised a simple role-playing activity suitable for college students. Specifically, the activity simulates how feedbacks between plants and soil environments influence plant species abundance and community richness. With this activity, students will gain a better understanding of these prolific, but overlooked, forms of biological interactions that impact the diversity and functioning of ecosystems.
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Vol. 81 • No. 4