Food Web Art Project

Kathryn Gregory
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will discuss food webs and how animals interact together in an ocean biosphere and make a model of how animals get their energy from other animals and the sun.

Grade Level: 1 - 3rd

Subject: Environmental, Science

Length of Time: About 60 Minutes

Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to identify where an animal’s energy source comes from.

Materials Needed

Yellow paper for students to make small 3-D suns (can be scrap paper or white paper colored yellow), copies of worksheets provided, markers, crayons, or coloring pencils, pencil, writing paper

Procedure

Opening to Lesson

  • Read a book about the ocean.
  • If no book is available: Draw or project a picture of a shark on the board.
  • Ask students where sharks get their energy.
  • Lead a discussion about how predators such as sharks, humans, lions, get their energy.

Body of Lesson

Modeling

  • Explain to students that there are some living things on earth that do not eat food for energy. Ask if they can think of any examples. (plants)
  • Ask students where plants get their energy.
    • Explain that plants get their energy from the sun.
  • Tell students that there are some special plant-like creatures in the ocean that also get their energy mostly from the sun, this is called phytoplankton.
    • Write the word phytoplankton on the board. (Be prepared for comments about plankton from Sponge-Bob Square Pants)
  • Ask students if they know what animals eat phytoplankton. (krill, among others)
  • Write Krill on the board and explain that many small fish rely on krill, which is a small shrimp-like animal. (Whales also eat krill, but for the purpose of the food chain leading to the shark, you do not need to focus on the whale for this lesson)
  • Explain that fish eat krill.
  • Ask students which animals eat Fish. (Many animals eat fish, but make sure to talk about seals)
  • Ask students which animals eat seals. (Sharks)

Guided Practice

  • Give students a small 3x3 inch (approximately) piece of yellow construction paper (from the scrap drawer if you have one) or have them color a small piece of paper yellow on both sides.
  • Instruct students to crumple this paper into a ball to represent the sun. Tell them to set it at the side of their desk.
  • Explain that students are going to make “stand up” sea animals by FOLDING across the line mirroring the animal (NO CUTTING will be necessary)
  • Tell them to only color, without folding, for the first step.
  • Pass out the ½ sheet of paper of the Phytoplankton and instruct students to color it. They can make the phytoplankton very colorful and make the background blue like the ocean.
  • Have them fold along the line and they may wish to fold the edges under to make the stand-up model a little shorter.
  • Ask students how the phytoplankton get their energy (the sun).
  • Instruct students to place the sun under the folded phytoplankton, showing that phytoplankton take their energy from the sun.
  • Pass out the ½ worksheet for krill. Instruct students to color first and then fold the paper along the line.
  • Ask students how krill get their energy (phytoplankton).
  • Have students stack the krill model on top of the phytoplankton and sun model.
  • Pass out the ½ worksheet for fish. Instruct students to color first and then fold the paper along the line.
  • Ask students how fish get their energy (krill).
  • Have students stack the fish model on top of the krill, phytoplankton and sun model.
  • Pass out the full sheet worksheet for the seal. Instruct students to color first and then fold the paper along the line.
  • Ask students how seals get their energy (fish).
  • Have students stack the seal model on top of the fish, krill, phytoplankton and sun model.
  • Pass out the full sheet worksheet for the shark. Instruct students to color first and then fold the paper along the line.
  • Ask students how sharks get their energy (seals).
  • Have students stack the shark model on top of the seal, fish, krill, phytoplankton and sun model.

Independent Practice

  • Students can write a summary of the day’s activity using the new words that they have learned. The summary can be more elaborate based on your writing program but an example for 1st or 2nd grade may be.
    • The ocean is an interesting place for many reasons. There are many predators in the ocean that search for prey to eat. Sharks like to eat seals. Seals like to eat Fish. Fish like to eat krill. Krill likes to eat phytoplankton. Phytoplankton gets its energy from the sun and other minerals in the ocean. All in all, the ocean is an incredible place.

Closing

Students can read their writing and discuss the activity using the vocabulary to the class. Models can be displayed in the classroom or taken home.

Assessment & Evaluation

Students will make interactive model showing how ocean animals interact in the energy food chain.

Modification & Differentiation

The teacher can work students in small groups for those who need extra assistance. Students who are reluctant to participate can work with a partner. Teacher can provide verbal and physical cues to help students.

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