Objective: Students will be able to diagram and model a simple food-web and will be able to identify some ways that food-webs can be altered.
Everything exists within the network of a food web
All components of the food-web are important, loss of habitat and species diversity puts stress on the entire system
Academic State Standards Covered:
4.3.4 Environmental Health
Know that plants, animals and humans are dependent on air and water.
4.6.4. Ecosystems and their Interactions
a.Understand that living things are dependent on nonliving things in the environment for survival. b.Understand the concept of cycles. c.Identify how ecosystems change over time.
Two sets of pictures of different parts of a sample ecosystem (laminated for longevity), one set made into nametags
Lengths of yarn
Paper and Crayons
Opening (10 min.):
We sit in a circle and go around the room introducing our
names and saying what we ate for breakfast. We then talk about how food is
important, and how everything needs to eat and that animals each have specific
foods that they can eat. The concept of a food-web is introduced. It should be
stressed that in a food-web there are no “bad guys” or “good guys;” a skunk is
not being mean when he eats a honeybee, he is just hungry. We are not being
mean to our sandwich when we eat it, we just have to eat.
Activity (10 min.):
Students are broken up into groups and each
group given a food-web kit consisting of pictures of different parts of
the model food-web and pieces of yarn (see “model-food web” worksheet).
Students are asked to connect these pictures with the lengths of yarn to
show what each animal eats. Instructor walks around and helps/ answers
questions as they go.
group reconvenes and the instructor arranges the pictures on a board in
front of the class (magnets can be helpful here).
Activity (25 min.):
Each child is assigned a place in our food
web and given a “name tag” with a picture of their species. They are told
to play tag while moving like the animal they signify, but are only able
to tag children representing their food. Music could be played during the
tag game to inspire movement play with for their animal actions; this also
helps to prevent chaos during the game by reminding them that this is not
just a regular game of tag. The each tag “season” lasts one minute:
Season 1: played out with standard
distribution of animals/plants (In a class of 18: 5 flowers, 5 bees, 3
sparrows, 3 skunks, 2 great horned owls),
Season 2: this season it has been very
cold and many of the honeybees have stayed inside their hives (the word
season may need to be defined). Reduce the number of honeybees by having
some sit out this round. At the end of this season ask the children what
happened (sparrows and skunks had a harder time finding honeybees to
Season 3: there has been a long drought
resulting in lower amounts of nectar in flowers for bees to feed on.
Lower the number of flowers by having some sit out.
Season 4: a road has been built through
the forest, cutting down some trees where the Great Horned Owl lived,
some owl populations have moved to denser forests nearby. Half of the
Great Horned Owls sit out.
Assessment (10 min): Students will return to seats and will be given paper and crayons. Students will create a drawing of their favorite season including: (1) what they think their animal would look like, (2) what its home would look like, and (3) what it eats.
Closing (5 min.):
Students return to their circle and share
their drawings with the class.