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Food Chain Frenzy | Lesson #2, Series 6

Food Chain Frenzy

Key Topics: Food Chain, Food Web, Decomposers, Meat-eaters (Carnivores), Plant Eaters (Herbivores), Omnivores, Human Impact, Energy.

Grade Levels: K-2nd

Click here for Series #6 Description

Science Framework

Spanish Lesson Plan


Lesson Bridge:

Connect this lesson (2) with ‘Living in Our Watershed’ (1) by explaining that keeping our watersheds clean is important to all life! Just like the garden, we all need clean water to survive. Another thing that we all need to survive is the sun! Do you know where most of our energy on earth comes from? (the sun). Today we will be discussing food chains and how the energy from the sun is passed around and shared by plants, animals and people!

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students will explore the interconnectivity between land-based pollution, water, and life forms. We will discuss food chains and food webs, and the sun as the source of all energy for life. Students will categorize populations of organisms based on what functions they serve in an ecosystem (producers, consumers, decomposers).  

Suggested Activities and Learning Objectives by Grade:

Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs:

Vocabulary:

Food Chain- The order in which living organisms depend on each other to live.

Food Web- A group of food chains in an ecosystem

Decomposers- A living thing that feeds on an breaks down plants and animals

Meat-eaters (Carnivores)- An animal that eats other animals

Plant Eaters (Herbivores)- An animal that only eats plants

Omnivores- An animal that eats plants and other animals

Human Impact- The effect humans have on the environment

Energy-  All living things need energy to live and grow, all energy starts with the sun

Materials:  

Prep:

Look through native species cards and arrange into at least 6 different food chains (total of 30 students). Make sure you have the right amount of cards and the right variety of cards that all students will be able to fit into one of your food chain examples.

Activity Procedure:

Engage

What kinds of things do we eat? Where do those foods come from? What do the foods we eat, eat? When we talk about how different animals and plants need to eat other plants and animals to live we call this a food chain.

Explore

Go into the garden and look for examples of a food chain. Can you see different plants or animals that might be food for other plants and animals?

Explain

So now we know what things make up a food chain. Plants and animals!

Think, Pair, Share: Where is it that plants get their energy from? Do they need to eat?

They use sunlight to get energy. Some animals are called herbivores, which means they only eat plants. 

Thumbs up/down: Can you think of animals that only eat plants?

Oftentimes herbivores are eaten by carnivores, animals that only eat meat.

Think, Pair, Share: Can you think of an animal that only eats meat?

Eventually when animals and plants die and they are eaten by other smaller animals. We call these animals decomposers. Decomposers are an important part of the food chain.

Action: Food Chain Charades

  1. Review your Garden Agreements
  2. Hand out one species card to each student, making sure you have about an equal amount of plants, animals, and decomposers, distributed throughout the circle.
  3. Ask students to look at their cards and raise their hand  if their card has a plant! Then ask them to raise their hands for the other categories: herbivore, carnivore, or decomposer. help them out if they don’t know. *For the little ones, feel free to use the words ‘meat eaters’ and ‘plant eaters’ if the vocabulary is beyond their comprehension.
  4. Save the sun card for yourself and act out the sun (good luck). Then ask students what eats the sunlight (plants)
  5. Call on a plant to come up. You can have the student act out their plant swaying in the wind.
  6. Next, ask students to raise their hands if they think their animal would eat that plant. Have one of them stand up and act out their animal.
  7.  Continue until you have made a food chain. Have students link elbows or stand in a line to represent the chain.
  8. Continue to make other food chains until all students have had a chance to act out their part in a food chain. It is best to show examples of different food chains in different ecosystems such as an ocean food chain, a garden food chain, and an oak woodland food chain.

Reflection

So let’s think again about what happens if one group was removed from the food web. What would happen if we no longer had plants? What would happen if we no longer had meat eaters and plant eaters? Do we think this is already happening with human impact? The more we build, pollute and cover natural spaces, the less room there is for plants. We are also hurting the soil by taking too much energy from it, something we call ‘depleting nutrients.’ This happens when we plant too much! If less energy is going into plants, how does it affect the rest of the food web? How do you think we can make this better? (Create more gardens! Eat locally, take care of our soil by making a happy place for decomposers to live via composting).

Extension Activities:

 

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