Lesson: Food Webs and Levels of Consumers

David Kujawski Bird Middle East Walpole, MA
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Lesson Objective

YWBAT: 1) Identify and explain the difference between each level of consumers. 2) Create a food web that correctly depicts the energy flow between various organisms in an ecosystem

Lesson Plan

Use the materials from the food chain lesson.  In addition, print out the 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-level labels (See levels of consumers WS).  Cut the levels out and laminate.  Place them into the envelope with the pictures of the animals and arrows.


What is a web?


Review Food chains.

State: In today's class we are going to apply our understanding of food chains to complete a food web.  A food web is basically a bunch of food chains that are connected.  The food web shows all of the energy interactions in an ecosystem.  In other words, a food web shows what organism(s) are relied on by others for food (chemical energy).

Model making a food web of the following organisms on the board or other technology:

  • Black bear
  • Deer
  • Blueberry bush
  • Grass
  • Bluebird
  • Toad
  • Garter snake
  • Field mouse
  • Fox

Activity 1: Students should be in the same groups that were set up for the food chain activity.  You and your group will have access to the organism pictures and the arrows.  Look at the pictures and determine what organisms rely on each other for energy.  Create a food web by interconnecting organisms.  Use the arrows to show the connection between organisms.  Remember: The arrow shows which way the energy is being transferred.

After students have completed their food web, you should instruct them on the different levels of organisms.  Model this on your food web on the board.  Have students define each level in their notes.

1st-level consumer-eats producers

2nd-level consumer-eats 1st-level consumers (might eat producers, too)

3rd-level consumer-eats 2nd-level consumers (might eat 1st-level and producers)

Omnivore-eats plants and animals

Herbivore-only eats plants

Carnivore-only eats animals

Scavenger-eats the remains of dead organisms, doesn't actually hunt them

Model these terms on your picture.

Activity 2: Have students identify the levels of consumers on their food webs.  They should use the lamninated labels in their envelopes.  Teacher circulates to check for responses.


Homework: At home, make a list of organisms that might live near your house.  Create a food web of those organisms.  Label each organism as a 1st-, 2nd- or 3rd-level consumer.


Lesson Resources

Levels of consumers.doc  
ARROW worksheet.doc  
Organism Worksheet.doc  
Picture of student work   Exemplar


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