There are many different food chains in a given area.
If an organism relies solely on one organism for food, the first organism
will be in trouble if the second dies out. The food chain refers
to "Who eats whom" relationship.
For instance, humans eat hamburger
which comes from the meat of a cow, which eats only grass (herbivore).
But humans don't only eat meat, they eat many other items that come from
both animals and plants (omnivore). A lion may eat an antelope, which
in turn eats grass. But a lion also eats many other smaller mammals,
fish, and birds, so the food chain gets complicated.
If you plotted the entire food habits of an organism this would
be called a food web.
- Read Working on the Food Chain to students.
It is a short poem about who eats whom. This book is not only a good introduction
to the lab, but can be used again as a conclusion.
- In this exercise, introduce students to different types
of animals by using puppets. We recommend Folkmanis puppets
they are realistic. Discuss each of the puppets that you will be
using, showing the students how to work the puppet. Tell a small
story about where the animal lives (you may want to have maps, to show
students where they live). You can have the students in groups look
and play with the puppets, telling them that they are going to have to
develop a story about the puppets and if they would be eaten in the real
- Get the students in a group and have certain students
become the "animal" by portraying the animal using the appropriate
puppet. For instance, if you have a ladybug puppet, have a student
play the ladybug. That student will dramatize how the ladybug lives,
then from the other puppets the class finds the animal next on the food
chain. The frog can eat a ladybug, so you have the student who is
the frog come up to the front of the class and "eat" the ladybug.
Then continue the story. You will find that not all of the puppets
fit in a food chain. For instance, if you have a Koala Bear, they
don't eat other mammals, they just eat leaves, so it has a different food
- Have students use their imaginations. You may have
to control the "eating" sessions, young children can be very dramatic.