The Food Chain
Lesson 2 of 9
Objective: SWBAT describe the parts of a food chain based on animals in our local ecosystem.
Unit 4: Ecosystems
Lesson 2: Exploring Ecosystems- Food Chain
5E Lesson Planning:
I plan most of my science lessons using the BSCS 5E Lesson Model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.For a quick overview of the model, take a look at this video.
I use this lesson model because it peaks the students' interest in the beginning during the "Engage" portion and allows for the students to actively participate in the investigations throughout the subsequent steps. The “Evaluate” component of the 5E Lesson Model can be used in many ways by the teacher and by the students.
In this Unit students will learn about ecosystems and the transfer of energy through ecosystems. The lessons in the unit are primarily based on our local ecosystem- the Santa Monica Mountains. This area is known as a Mediterranean Ecosystem or Biome and we will learn about the plants, animals, climate, and human impacts on this area.
In this lesson, students will participate in 3 activities on a field trip to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This is our 2nd visit to the park as part of the SHRUBs program (Students Helping Restore Unique Biomes). This hands-on, real world experience will help support the learning we are doing in the classroom in connection to Ecosystems.
- Nature notebook
- small clipboards
- National Park provides equipment for planting
Next Generation Science Standards:
The NGSS standards that will be covered in this unit/ lesson are:
5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: This lesson aligns to the Disciplinary Core Ideas of
PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life The energy released [from] food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water). (5-PS3-1)
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion. (secondary to 5-PS3-1) Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water. (5-LS1-1)
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem. (5-LS2-1)
LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment, and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment. (5-LS2-1)
Systems and System Models
A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions. (5-LS2- 1)
Energy and Matter
Matter is transported into, out of, and within systems. (5-LS1-1)
Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects. (5-PS3-1)
Science & Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models:
Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions. Use models to describe phenomena. (5-PS3-1) Develop a model to describe phenomena. (5-LS2-1)
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K– 2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s). Support an argument with evidence, data, or a model. (5-LS1-1)
I ask the students to open their Science Notebooks to a new page and I ask them to think about what they ate for dinner last night. I describe my dinner as a bowl of spaghetti with some meatballs and tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I write this on my sample notebook page and ask the students where my meal comes from and have them help me deconstruct my meal. We talk about how the meat and cheese comes from cows and that the cows eat grass and the grass gets energy from the sun. We then discuss the tomato sauce which comes from a plant source or producer and that the spaghetti noodles also come from a plant source or producer.
After modeling this with the students, I tell them to do them same thing with the dinner they ate the previous night.
I show the students a video about the food chain which is a song to the tune of Frosty the Snowman. It has some good visuals and I tell the students to the terms that are being used since we will be reviewing those throughout the lesson.
After the students have created their personal food chain, I show them this short video to get them inspired.
I then tell them that they are going to play the Food Chain game on the interactive whiteboard. This software is great and the Food Chain Game continues to increase in difficulty so the kids are challenged more as they go through it. The students also really like the animation at the end. I tell the students that after playing the game a few times, that I want them to write down the important terms that they see on the game (decomposers, producers, consumers, herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores.)
I then explain to them that I want them to create a Food Chain for an organism that can be found locally. I show them the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation website and we look at the different plants and animals that can be found there. I give the students some examples of animals they should use to create their food chain such as the mountian lion, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, badger, gray fox, and rattlesnake. I then tell them to draw this Food Chain in their Science Notebooks and that they will be sharing them when completed.
I remind the students to make sure to label the differtent parts of their Food Chain and this the animal they have chose is part of our local ecosystem (Mediterranean Ecosystem). I tell them to make a diagram of the food chain and include a description of each level. I also tell them that I want them to use the vocabulary that we discussed earlier in the lesson to describe the components of their food chain.
The students also were a bit confused as to how to draw the arrows for their food chains and I had to remind them that they needed to draw the arrows in the direction of the flow of energy through the Food Chain. I also remind them about my Science Notebook entry guidelines for their drawings to be Accurate, Big, and Colorful and that I wanted them to label their diagram.
Here are some student examples:
A couple of students also wanted to share their Food Chains a describe the energy flow through them: