Unit 4 – Ecosystem Interactions

Lesson 2 – Food Chains

For this lesson, we are going to engage with our critical thinking skills. Critical thinking will help develop problem-solving, innovation, and organizational skills, which will be increasingly important the older your child becomes. There will be two parts to today’s lesson, food chains and then food webs (next week’s lesson). At the end of the study, students will compare and contrast to explain which method of describing consumption is the most accurate.

PART ONE: Food Chains

All animals, plants, and other organisms need some type of fuel or food to keep them alive. Everything eats, and everything is eaten. But how do we know what kind of animal will eat what type of food?

Food chains are a way to explain how energy moves throughout an ecosystem. Food chains start with the bottom level of consumption and continue until the top level of consumer is dead and decomposer breaks down the organism until it can help restart the food chain. There are several layers to this model:

  •               Plants – Bottom of the food chain
  •               Primary consumers – Herbivores, they only eat plats
  •               Secondary consumers – Carnivores, they eat the primary consumer
  •               Tertiary consumer – Carnivores, they eat the secondary consumer
  •               Decomposer – Detritivores, they eat the tertiary consumer           once it dies, turns the tertiary consumer into plant food


Create a simple food chain



Have students pin the order in which the animals consume in a circle or a if space does not permit, a straight line. The order of the pictures should be: plant, herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, and decomposer. 

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