Food Chains Lesson Plan
Grades 2-3 (7-9 yrs)
Created by Jennifer L. Fong, The Toledo Zoo
Copies of “There Once Was a Daisy Poem”
Daisy Game Spreadsheet
Jump Frog Jump Book
Feathers for Lunch Book
Popcorn (popped or unpopped)
Plastic Sandwich Bags
Large Poster of Food Chain
Puppets: snake, frog, turtle, fly, fish
Materials needed for teacher extension activities:
Construction paper or other materials to make menus
1.) Students will be able to define what a food chain is.
2.) Students will be able to give an example of a food chain and name the animals in it.
National Science Standards:
Life Science Standard: Characteristics of organisms
Unifying Concepts & Processes: Evidence models & explanation
Science as Inquiry: Abilities necessary to scientific inquiry
There are five major types of producers and consumers on earth. They depend on each other to survive and make up a complex web of life. The base of the food web is the producer. It takes the energy from the sun, soil, and water. Grass is an example of a producer. It does not feed on any other form of life to survive. The producer gives energy to the primary consumer.
The primary consumers survive mainly on producers. We usually refer to them as herbivores, or plant-eaters. An example of a primary consumer is an impala. This graceful antelope eats the African grass. Primary consumers supply energy to the secondary consumers.
The secondary consumers survive mainly on primary consumers. They are usually referred to as carnivores, or meat-eaters. An example of a secondary consumer is a leopard. The leopard hunts and eats the impala. The secondary consumer gives its energy to the scavenger.
The scavenger survives mainly on the dead bodies of primary and secondary consumers. An example of a scavenger would be a vulture. Scavengers depend on others to kill their prey, and then eat the remains. For example, a leopard will kill and eat an impala, but what the leopard does not finish, the scavenger eats. The scavenger also eats the remains of the leopard when it dies.
The fifth member of the food web is the decomposer. Decomposers include mushrooms and bacteria. They take their energy from dead matter. In the process of feeding, they break dead matter down into particles that enrich the soil. Producers grow in the enriched soil. In this way, they are interrelated and continue to replenish the earth.
**Note: All of the following activities do not need to be conducted during the 30 minute program they are listed so that you may pick and choose from them**
Engage: (5 min.)
1.) Do a KWL chart on food chains. Ask the children; “Tell me what you already know about food chains.” Then ask “What would you like to know/learn?” At the end of the lesson you will then go back and fill in the last section which is “What did you learn about food chains today?” You can easily divide a dry erase board or chart paper into three sections and label the sections “K” “W” “L”
2.) Play “Herbivore or Carnivore?” with the students. Pass out one picture to each student. Ask the students to come up and place their pictures under the correct labels. The labels will have words as well as pictures for those who have difficulty reading.
3.) Use the CD-ROM included that contains a PowerPoint game based on African animals and what they eat.
Explore: (15-20 min.)
1.) Read Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan. After reading the story, discuss with the students each animal in the story and what it eats and who eats it. Don’t forget the people at the end of the story! During the story, pass out one puppet to each student and the net to two or three children. During the appropriate part in the story, they can act it out with the puppets.
2.) Next, introduce the term food chain and very briefly explain what a food chain is and tie it back to the story you just read. That is a simple food chain.
3.) Have the children give you another example of a food chain.
4.) Introduce and very briefly define the following words: producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer, scavenger, and decomposer.
Explaining: (15 min.)
1.) Show a live animal (amphibian) or biofact (amphibian). Ask the students if they can tell you what this animal or biofact would eat and what would eat it.
2.) Assign the students (in groups) the different parts to the poem. You will need a bug group, a daisy group, a snake group, a fox group, and a wren group. The remaining students can be in the “ALL” group.
3.) Pass out the poems to everyone and their name tags indicating which part they are.
4.) Read through the poem once, and then have the children read it, you may wish to have them act out their parts.
5.) After reading the poem, have the children decide which animals should go in the food chain poster. Have one child come up and place the animal card in the correct spot.
Or Choose This Activity:
6.) Show a live animal (amphibian) or biofact (amphibian). Ask the students if they can tell you what this animal or biofact would eat and what would eat it.
7.) Pass out the poems to everyone and their name tags indicating which part they are.
8.) Read through the poem once.
9.) After reading the poem, play the food chain game (directions attached).
These extension activities can be given to the classroom teacher see extension packet
(Food Chains Grades 2-3)
1.) Predator/Prey Match: Have the students match different prey animal pictures with the predator that would eat it. You can take this one step further and create a class book where each student contributes one page. Book can be titled “What’s for lunch?” Have each student take turns taking the book home and reading it to their families.
2.) Have the students create their own PowerPoint “What’s for lunch?” game. They could do this in their computer classes.
3.) The students can create murals of different food chains. Assign each group a particular biome, or let them choose their own and then have them draw or paint a mural depicting a food chain from that biome/habitat.
4.) Have the students bring a stuffed or plastic animal from home. You can then create different food chains based on the animals they brought in. You could bring in some graphing with this activity by graphing the number of predators, prey, herbivores, carnivores, etc.
5.) Have the students write stories based on the theme “A Day in the Life” of a predator, a prey animal, etc.
6.) Have groups of students create food chains for particular habitats. They can then create a restaurant menu based on the food chain. There is a lesson plan and wonderful examples for this activity at:
1.) The students were evaluated by the observation of the above activities.
2.) The teacher may choose to use any of the above extension activities for evaluating their students.
3.) Teacher can display check or grade the class books.