Grades: 4th to 5th Grade
Summary: Students will delve deeper into the concept of ecosystems in the exploration of the interdependence of living elements within the tropical rain forest ecosystem.
Timeframe: 1 – 45 minute sessions
Students will delve deeper into the concept of ecosystems in the exploration of the interdependence of living elements within the tropical rain forest ecosystem. Students will investigate the interdependence of these elements through a hands-on activity depicting the concept of a food web utilizing food chains of animals found in their study of the rain forest.
State Learning Standards: (Taken from the NYS Learning Standards for MST)
Standard 4: Science
The Living Environment
Key Idea 1 – Living things are both similar to and different from each other and nonliving things.
A – Describe the characteristics of and variations between living and nonliving things.
B – Describe the life processes common to all living things.
Key Idea 6 – Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.
A – Describe how plants and animals, including humans, depend upon each other and the nonliving environment.
Goal / Essential Question:
How are living things interdependent on each other? What would happen if part of a food chain disappeared?
Students will know:
1. That part of the rain forest ecosystem is composed of living things that depend on each other.
2. There are different predator/ prey relationships that exist among living members of a community.
3. That living things affect each other in an ecosystem.
Students will be able to:
1. Identify food as one of the basic needs of living things.
2. Identify predator/ prey relationships from the tropical rain forest.
Students should understand the overall concept and definition of an ecosystem from the prior lesson and the food chain concept. They should also be familiar with the term and concept of energy.
· Balls of yarn
· Role cards depicting rain forest animals for food web activity (The "Role Cards" are meant to be teacher created. This allows the teacher to select the plants and animals best suited for your group of students. When I did a similar activity in the past, I wrote the names of the items on large index cards, hole-punched the top two corners and ran a long piece of string through the holes. This allowed the students to put the cards on over their heads. For younger students, struggling readers, I've also added photos of the items as well).
1. Prior Knowledge: Review and discuss concept of food chains from previous lesson.
2. Launch: Write Food Web on board. What do you think a food web is?
· Most living things are part of more than one food chain.
· The many food chains in an area are combined, or linked, to for a web.
· Discuss examples of food chains from rain forest animals studied, depicting how animals can be prey for various predators
3. What would happen if a part of a food chain disappeared? When one part of the food web is affected, many other living things are affected also
4. Do Food Web Activity utilizing a rain forest ecosystem:
a. Give each student a role card to pretend to be; put around their neck and form a large circle
b. Assign students without cards to be helpers
c. Have each student read aloud card of what they are and what they eat, students with matching cards raise hands
d. Have helpers give one end of yarn to student reading card and the other ends to students raising hands (yarn is symbol of energy being passed in form of food) a web will be formed when finished
5. Closure: What might happen if the plants of the rain forest were destroyed? Everything will be affected
a. Cut the strings of the rain forest plant to show that it’s dead. All animals that eat phytoplankton will also die so strings also need to be cut. Continue cutting until all animals are dead.
· Given the discussion, students will be able to identify that part of the rain forest ecosystem is composed of living things and that they depend on each other.
· Given the discussion of food chains from the prior lesson, students will be able to identify different predator/ prey relationships that exist among living members of the tropical rain forest community.
· Given the food web activity, students will visualize how living things affect each other in an ecosystem.
Adaptations for diversity:
This is a hands-on activity using visual stimuli to aid in the understanding of the concept of food webs and should be appropriate for all the skill levels and learning abilities realized in this particular classroom environment.
Submitted by: Michele O'Connor [email protected]