Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unit Resource Portfolio: Food Chains

This portfolio provides 10 instructional plans for 3rd graders based on the topic food chains. Primarily, it will focus on 3.5 of the SOL . Additionally, it will also make some connections with 3.4: animal adaptations and with 3.6: ecosystems. This project focuses on the types of relationships among living organisms and their dependence on each other for survival. The strand focuses on the life processes of plants and animals and the specific needs of each. The major topics developed in the strand include the basic needs and life processes of organisms, their physical characteristics, behavioral and physical adaptations, and survival and perpetuation of species.

The first section is the instructional plans where the unit is exposed. The unit is organized in chronological and logical order as a model or guide to teach these contents. Each day will first provide the objectives planned to be reached in that class and secondly, a sequence section where one can find the instructional procedure for that lesson plan. In this second section, an introduction activity to review content or to create background knowledge is given, followed by the activity of the day where students will actually learn new contents. Finally, a possible closure for that day is offered where the whole class is intended to revise the topic. Some of the resources suggested are going to be books, web sites, premade lesson plans and assessments with their assigned answer keys. All of them will have a link where one can visualize the information and download files if necessary.

On the other hand, the rest of the sections are mostly focused in providing sources where materials and ideas can be taken. The majority of these resources are included and used in the instructional plans. The second section is on foldables offering 3 different models with different contents used. Each model has its own instructions and photos to follow the step by step. The third section is on literature connections where a list of 10 tittles are provided. These books include both fiction and non fiction and have different reading levels. Most of them are also used in different lessons. The forth one, has web resources offering games, instructional contents and videos where students can learn and apply knowledge. Finally, the fifth section provides some sample assessments for testing the contents taught in this unit. Some of them are taken from internet, from the SOL or they where created and uploaded. All of them, provide answer keys.

Standards of Learning:

3.5 The student will investigate and understand relationships among organisms in aquatic and terrestrial food chains.
Key concepts include:
  • producer, consumer, decomposer;
  • herbivore, carnivore, omnivore; and
  • predator and prey.
Background information:
  • A food chain shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment.
  • Terrestrial organisms are found on land habitats such as deserts, grasslands, and forests. Aquatic organisms are found in water habitats such as ponds, marshes, swamps, rivers, and oceans.
  • A green plant makes its own food using sunlight, air, and water. Green plants are producers.
  • A consumer is an animal that eats living organisms (plant or animal).
  • Certain organisms break down decayed plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms. These organisms are decomposers.
  • A food chain, which shows part of a food web, can have an animal that eats only plants (herbivore). It can have an animal that eats only other animals (carnivore). It can also have an animal that eats both plants and animals (omnivore).
  • An animal can hunt other animals to get its food (predator).
  • An animal can be hunted by another animal for food (prey).

3.4 The student will investigate and understand that adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.
Key concepts include:
  • behavioral adaptations; and
  • physical adaptations.
Background Information:
  • In order to survive, animals act in different ways to gather and store food, find shelter, defend themselves, and rear their young.
  • Physical adaptations help animals survive in their environment (e.g., camouflage, mimicry).
  • Various animals possess adaptations which help them blend into their environments to protect themselves from enemies (camouflage). Camouflage is the means by which animals escape the notice of predators, usually because of a resemblance to their surroundings using coloration or outer coverage patterns.
  • Mimicry occurs when a species has features similar to another species. Either one or both are protected when a third species cannot tell them apart. (Mimicry happens in both animal and plant species.) Some animals look like other animals to avoid being eaten (mimicry). This adaptation helps protect them from their predators. (For example, the viceroy butterfly tastes good to birds, but the monarch butterfly tastes bad. Because the viceroy looks like the monarch butterfly, it is safer from predators.) Mimicry can also occur as mimicked behaviors, mimicked sounds, or mimicked scents.
  • Some animals are born with natural behaviors that they need in order to survive in their environments (instincts). These behaviors are not learned but are instinctive, such as a beaver building a dam or a spider spinning a web.
  • Some behaviors need to be taught in order for the animal to survive, such as a bear cub learning to hunt (learned behavior).
3.6 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources.
Key concepts include:
  • aquatic ecosystems;
  • terrestrial ecosystems;
  • populations and communities; and
  • the human role in conserving limited resources.
Background Information:
  • Water-related ecosystems include those with fresh water or salt water. Examples include ponds, marshes, swamps, streams, rivers, and oceans.
  • Dry-land ecosystems include deserts, grasslands, rain forests, and forests.
  • A community is all of the populations that live together in the same place. An example of a dry-land community would be a forest made up of trees, squirrels, worms, rabbits, and hawks. An example of a water- related community would be an ocean made up of fish, crabs, and seaweed.
  • Organisms compete for the limited resources in their specific ecosystem.
  • Humans need to help conserve limited resources

3.5 Food Chain:
  • Food Chain: shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment
  • Producer: an organism that makes its own food, these organisms are green plants.
  • Photosynthesis: the process by which plants produce their own food.
  • Consumer: an animal that eats other organisms (plants or animals)
  • Omnivore: an animal whose diet consists of both animals and plants.
  • Carnivore: an animal whose diet consists of other animals
  • Herbivore: an animal whose diet consists on plants
  • Decomposer:an organism that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants)
  • Prey: an animal that is hunted by another animal for food
  • Predator: an animal that hunt other animals to get its food
3.4 Animal Adaptations:
  • Adaptation: a physical or behavior that helps an animal meet its needs in its environment.
  • Camouflage: an animal's color or pattern that helps it blend in with its surroundings.
  • Mimicry: an adaptation in which an animal looks very much like another animal or object.
3.6 Ecosystems:
  • Habitat: place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows and that provides the food, shelter, moisture, light air and protection the plants and animals need to survive.
  • Environment: the things, both living and nonliving, that surround a living thing.
  • Ecosystem: groups of living things and the environment they live in.
  • Community: all of the populations that live together in the same place.
  • Population: a group of the same species living in the same place at the same time.


Day 1: Introduction to food chain
  • Incorporate the concept of food chain: a food chain shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment
  • Identify sequence of feeding relationship in a food chain
  • Identify some examples of food chains.
Prepare a food chain in index cards (each member of the food chain in a different card). Have students volunteer for the activity and give each one a selected card. To the whole class, ask: how do these things fit together? Brainstorm the ideas. Then, explain that these elements relate making a food chain. Introduce the concept of food chain as a chain that shows a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific environment. This is a sequence of organisms that give energy to one another.
To continue, give some examples of food chains for students to discuss and understand the idea of energy passing through the different elements of the food chain rather than eating one another. Exercise this by reading each example of food chain as this example: "the sun gives energy to the grass, which gives energy to the mouse, which gives energy to the owl" or " the owl gets energy from the mouse, which gets energy from the grass, which gets energy from the sun".
Activity: Divide students into groups and give each group an example of a food chain of the following list and ask them to make a drama that represents the food chain and how the energy flows from one organisms to another. Each group will act their drama in front of the class. Once the representations are finished, ask students to draw in their notebooks the food chains asking to draw arrows between organisms that show the relationship between them. Again, emphasize the idea that the arrows tells what organism give its energy to the next member of the food chain. Review the way they should read them.
Finally, explain that a food chain is formed by different elements: producer, consumer and decomposer. Ask the students to try to identify in their own food chains the function of each member. Tell them that through the unit they will be learning each part of the food chain.

Day 2: Producers

  • Identify that a producer is an organism that makes its own food, these organisms are green plants.
  • Identify that most food chains begin with a green plant
  • Incorporate the idea that photosynthesis is the process by which plants make their own food.
  • Identify the elements needed for photosynthesis.
For the introduction, share the answers from the previous class where they try to identify the function of each member of the food chain. Ask students what do they think is the function of a producer in the food chain. Also ask them: What do plants eat?
Read the book "Living Sunlight, how plants bring the earth to life". Share and discuss as a class the role and importance of plants. Explain simply how plants make their own food identifying the necessary ingredient for photosynthesis: water, sun, CO2. Show them that as a result of the combination of those ingredients, plants make sugar, plant's food, and give O2 to the environment which we need to breath. Infer that the sugar plants make is the energy that will flow from one organism to another through the food chain.
Activity: Complete the Photosynthesis recipe.

Day 3: Consumers
  • Identify that a consumer is an animal that eats other organisms (plants or animals)
  • Assimilate the concepts of herbivore, omnivore and carnivore
  • Identify different types of consumers between herbivore, omnivore and carnivore.
Ask the students, what is a consumer? Depending on what is offered, complete explaining that a consumer is an animal that eats other organisms which can be other animals or plants. Emphasize the idea that a consumer need to look for their food and relay on other organisms to obtain food.
As an activity to introduce the difference between consumers, ask the students to share what they had for dinner the day before, the teacher should write in the blackboard what they offer. Then, make them classify the food into groups; the idea is to get a group of vegetables, a group of animals or meat and a combo. Tell the students there is a scientific word for these 3 groups: Herbivore, carnivore and omnivore. Explain that this classification is the same that we use to to to categorize the different types of consumers. Explain the 3 concepts: herbivore: an animal whose diet consists on plants, carnivore: an animal whose diet consists of other animals, and omnivore: an animal whose diet consists of both animals and plants.
Activity: go to the computer lab. Make students read the information on the consumer's diets. be sure they read the information in the 3 categories: herbivores, carnivores, omnivores Then, make them play the game "animal diet" where they will classify animals into the different 3 categories (herbivore, carnivore, omnivore).

Day 4: Consumers
  • Assimilate the concepts of herbivore, omnivore and carnivore
  • Identify different types of consumers between herbivore, omnivore and carnivore.
  • Make a foldable that represent these concepts.
Revise the previous lessons by asking some of the following questions:
  • what can a consumer eat? (plants, animals, both)
  • what is a consumer? (an animal that eats other organisms plans or animals)
  • what is the name for an animal that eat meat? (carnivore)
  • what is the name for an animal that eat plants? (herbivore)
  • what is the name for an animal that eat plants and meat? (omnivore)
  • what kind of consumer is the human? (omnivore)
Activity: explain to the students that they will be making a foldable that shows the different types of diets that a consumer can have. For that, first they will have to make a research on the topic. Provide different materials such as magazines, books, websites etc on animals and its diets. Ask students then, to investigate each group (herbivore, carnivore and omnivore) by getting information and pictures of them in order to be able to make the foldable and use that data. The foldable will have to include images of animals, food they eat and inferences on similar characteristics they can find among animals that belong to the same category.
To conlude, share as a class their foldables and discuss as a class specifically the characteristics they find in common among the animals of each group. Some examples that should appear are:
  • carnivores: are good hunters, move quickly, have strong limbs for grabbing and holding, strong sharp teeth for tearing.
  • herbivores: have flatter teeth for chewing plants, they don't usually move as fast as carnivores because they don't hunt.
  • omnivores: have some traits from both plant eaters and meat eaters.

Day 5 : Decomposer
  • Identify that a decomposer is an organism that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants)
  • Identify examples of decomposers.
Tell the students today they are going to learn about the last member of the food chain. Review information on the functions of producer and consumer. Then, ask, what is the 3rd member of a food chain? Ask students what they know about decomposers. To complete the discussion and to correct some misunderstandings or misconceptions read as a class "Rotten Logs and Forest Fogs". Ask students to say in a think per share thoughts and feelings the reading triggered. Conclude the explanation by defining decomposers as organisms that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants). Show them that they are considered to be a special class of consumers that are distinguished from other consumers because their food consists of dead bodies as well as the solid and liquid wastes from consumers. Emphasize should be in showing that decomposers return matter to the living world, this matter is what plants tale in as nutrients. For that reason, decomposers play a very important role in material cycles.
Activity: go to the computer lab and give time for students to search through this decomposer website. Ask them to investigate, find characteristics, their job and role. There is also an interesting interview to a worm they could read. They should make a deep research because the following day they will be exploring a decomposer habitat. They should take down notes in their notebooks about new facts they learn. Some of the following questions can be used to guide this web investigation:
  • what new facts did you find about these kind of organisms, decomposers?
  • what did you learn about decomposers?
  • what surprised you most? why?
  • what do you think now about decomposers? did you change your mind? If so, what did you previously think?
If not, you can use this KWLI chart to be completed. (NOTE: you will have to sign up but they will just ask you for you email, it's free)
To conclude, as a class review what they have learned by sharing their answers written in their notebooks.

Day 6: Explore Decomposer
  • Identify that a decomposer is an organism that decay plants and animals into smaller pieces that can be used again by other living organisms (plants)
  • Identify examples of decomposers.
  • Make observation of a decomposer environment identifying examples of different types of them and relationships between them and their surroundings.
Tell the students that today they are going to explore a decomposer's environment. Explain the activity and safety rules before going outside. Divide the students into groups and give each group all the materials needed and the assigned worksheet.
Activity: The activity is called "Fallen Fog" and is found in page 6 of the PDF, the worksheet is after the activity. I personally, would add to this activity some drawings of the student's observations during the completion of the worksheet.
To conclude, when you return back to the class, share the answers of the assigned worksheet and ask the students to offer their experience as explorers in order to enrich one from another.

Day 7: Food Chain: predator and prey
  • Differentiate between predators and prey.
  • Incorporate the following concepts: prey: an animal that is hunted by another animal for food and Predator: an animal that hunt other animals to get its food
  • Identify sequences of feeding relationships in a food chain.
Review the contents taught so far regarding consumers, producers and decomposers. For this, students can play a food chain game where they will have to categorize the different organisms according to the role they play. The difficulty between food chains will increase. They can first read the page on "bigger food chains" before start playing as a review. (the game is found in the left upside).
Once they had captured the idea of sequence of feeding relationships in a food chain introduce the concepts of predator and prey. For this, first make them realize that food chains can be really long, they may include a wide variety of organisms. So, we can find more than one consumer. As a consequence, make them infer that one animal eats another one by asking them: what happens then between consumers? Ask if they know the scientific name for the organism that is eaten and for the animal how actually eats another one. Finally explain the difference between both concepts.
Activity: After this explanation provide some books and material for students to investigate the topic. Divide the class into smaller groups and ask them to explore and examine the material given in order to complete a Predator-Prey Worksheet. To conclude, share the answers on the worksheet and ask students to offer some feelings and thoughts on the investigation they made.

Books suggested: How animals eat - Animal Camouflage in the Ocean - Where in the wild? - Counting in the Oceans - Counting in the tundra - Counting in the rain forest.

Day 8: Food Chain in Habitat
  • Incorporate the concept Habitat as a place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows which provides food, shelter, moisture, light, air and protection the plants or animals need to survive.
  • Identify examples of food chains in an aquatic ecosystem and classify them.
  • Infer how organisms interact with each other in their habitat by assimilating the concept of food chain as a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment
Ask the students to give a definition of Food chain from all what they have been learning so far. Brainstorm their ideas and conclude by giving the following definition: food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment. Make sure they get the idea that a food chain represent the a way in which animals and plant that live in a same place interact with each other. Ask the students some of the following question to introduce the concept habitat: What things do plants and animals need to live? ask and discuss what is an habitat and its elements and define habitat as a place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows which provides food, shelter, moisture, light, air and protection the plants or animals need to survive. Make sure they understand and infer that a specific food chain will be created for every specific habitat.
Activity: Analyzing Food Chains in an Aquarium Habitat. Divide the students into groups and give each one an aquarium to analyze. The aquarium should have a sand ground, some aquatic plants such as elodeas or eel-grass, ans some fishes make sure you have some small ones and some bigger ones that can eat the smaller ones. Hand out the worksheet for this activity so students record their answers there. Help students to see and identify this aquarium as an habitat for the fishes and plants that live there. Give enough time for observations.
To finish, share the answers and revise the contents taught.

Day 9: Food Chain in Habitats Objectives:
  • Incorporate the concept Habitat as a place where an animal or plant naturally lives or grows which provides food, shelter, moisture, light, air and protection the plants or animals need to survive.
  • Identify examples of food chains in different ecosystem and classify them.
  • Infer how organisms interact with each other in their habitat by assimilating the concept of food chain as a food relationship among plants and animals in a specific area or environment.
  • Make a foldable that represent all of the above.
To continue with the contents taught the previous class go to the computer lab and make students play the following games in order to identify and build different food chains in different environments, incorporating the idea that in every specific place, there is a specific food chain. Talk about this after playing the games.
Activity: Foldable. Instruct students how to make the foldable. They should choose a specific environment and its food chain and represent it in the foldable. Teacher should offer materials and examples of food chains with books or internet sources. Each member of the food chain should be classified. To finish, ask students to explain the food chain they have made in a think per share to a classmate.

Day 10: Food chain awareness Objectives:
  • Assimilate that a change in a part of a food chain might affect the rest of the food chain. Identify consequences.
  • Review contents taught during the whole unit.
To review all the contents given through the unit and to make students aware of the importance of taking care of the environment make students watch this instructional video and make afterwards the quiz offered. Then, as a class discuss the importance of respecting each ecosystem trying not to break down or disturb the natural way it works and flows. Show students how animals and plants depend on each other. Talk and give examples of first, second and third level consumers. Then ask students if they would have to organize a food chain regarding producers and 1st, 2nd and 3rd consumers in a pyramid how they would do it, what they would put in the base and what at the top? Then, infer the importance of having more producers than consumers showing how we need more life forms in the lower levels than in the upper levels because without this delicate balance, the pyramid would collapse and fall. If you can, show this with an real pyramid build with legos or blocks. Give common examples of how a food chain can be disturb (extinction of an animal, taking a specie to another environment where it don't belong, pollution etc). Talk about possible consequences that may occur and possible ways to take care about the environment avoiding this.
Activity: divide the students into groups and ask them to represent in a bulletin board what the discussion, including reasons why we should take care of the environment, ideas on how we can look after and protect ecosystems, and consequences if we do not do it.
The following link can help instructing the contents of this lesson, it can be given to students.


These 3 different formats of foldables cover some information on contents taught during the unit and have been included in the instructional plans.

  • Food Chain in Habitats: In this PDF you will find 2 different formats, one for a food chain in an aquatic habitat and another for a terrestrial habitat.
  • Consumers: This foldable is on different types of consumers.


These are some books suggested for this topic:

A Desert Scrapbook.
By Virginia Wright Frierson. Illus by the author. 2002. 40p. Aladdin (978-0689850554). Gr 3-5
This is a lovely book that tells the story of an artist who visits the Sonora Desert to explore it. During her trip she sketch, paint and write all what she sees in her notebook. So, you will find some wonderful drawings of landscapes and a diversity of animals interacting with each other. Her aim was to discover the precious ecosystem in this desert so she stayed enough time in order for the animals to get used to her presence, so that she can really watch and appreciate who life develops in the Sonora Desert.

Animal Camouflage in the Ocean.
By Martha E.H Rustad. 2009. 24p. Pebble Pluss (978-1429633253). Gr 1-4
This is a book of easy reading for all ages that explains in a simple way what is camouflage by showing different examples of animal camouflage in the ocean. For each example the book offers a brief explanation on how these adaptations help the specific animal and an image of the animal hiding in the ocean. Finally, a section of glossary and internet resources is offered.

A Rain Forest Food Chain.
By Rebecca Hougue Wojahn and Donald Wojahn. 2008. 64p. Lerner (978-0761341925). Gr 3-5.
This is a very interesting book with a lot of information for students on the topic of food chains. It talks specially about food chains and food webs in the rein forest in South America. At the beginning an introduction to the topic is exposed explaining what a food chain is and how it works. What is interesting is that this book has a code for each member of the food chain (producer, 1st, 2nd or 3rd consumer and decomposer). So, the book shows different in each page has a different animal with the assigned codification and an explanation on the animal's characteristics, what they eat, etc. As the aim of the book is to shows how a whole food web work, every page in every animal section has different possibilities to choose between whether if you want to connect this specific animal with other organisms and understand their relationship. Finally a section of glossary, further readings and web resources is offered.

Counting in the Tundra.
By Fredrick Jr. McKissack and Lisa Beringer McKissack. 2008. 32p. Enslow Elementary (978-0766029897). Gr 1-3
The book starts with a presentation of the tundra biomas and where they can be find. Through the rest of the book, children can count from one to ten as they read about the different animals and features of the ocean. This summary of each animal explains the main characteristics of it and their behavioral giving examples of different adaptations. It also gives information on their environment.

How Animals Eat.
By Pamela Hickman. Illus by Pat Stephens. 2007. 32p. Kids can read (978-1554530311). Gr 3
This book describe different behavioral adaptation on how animals eat. It shows how each animal is prepare to eat and capture their preys in a specific way which is an adaptation to their own nature and needs. What is interesting is that for many animals the book provides a brief information card that points out the animal's behavior and some physical characteristics of it according to the environment where the animal lives and the preys it has to capture. Finally, at the beginning there is a food chain that it has to be combine and at the end you can find the answers.

Living Sunlight, How plants bring the earth to life.
Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. 2009. 40 p. The Blue Sky Press (978-0545044226). Gr 3-5
This book explains the importance of sunlight and plants on earth and for humans in a very simple and dynamic way. Specially explains the photosynthesis and the importance of this process to our planet. At the end there is a note section where the process of photosynthesis is explained in a deeper way, showing each step of the process.

Ocean Seasons.
By Ron Hirschi. Illus by Kirsten Carlson. 2007. 32p. Sylvan Dell Publishing (978-0977742325). Gr 2 1-3.
This book focuses in the relationship between animals and plants who live under water, in the oceans, through the different seasons of the years. It will show feeding relationships between animals and interactions between them and their environment. Some animals adaptations are explained by showing how animals migrate to other habitats in order to survive. At the end of the book, there is a great tool for teachers and students, some food web cards that specify the prey and predator of a specific specie. Also a brief summary on how seasons change and what happens in this ecosystem is explained. Finally an ocean food web is also offered.

Prowling the Seas.
By Pamela S. Turner. 2009. 40p. Walkers Children (978-0802797483). Gr 3-5.
This book is intended to talk and explain ocean wildlife regarding food chains, specifically presenting big predators of these habitats. Each chapter represents a different predator where a wide explanation and description on it and its environment is exposed. The whole book is thought to be an investigation as a scientist would do it, so, you will find photos and thoughts of scientists doing their job. Finally, a brief description of ocean predator populations is offered together with a resource section.

Rotten Logs and Forest Floors.
Sharon Katz Cooper. 2010. 30p. Raintree (978-1410935014). Gr 3-5.
This book is all about worms and decomposer's habitat. It has an easy reading and good pictures with some good facts notes in it. The way the contents are exposed is simple and dynamic for kids. Firstly, a definition of habitat is offered but, the whole book will explain how decomposers live on dead organisms and the importance of this for plants and for the environment. It will show different animals and explain main characteristics of them and how they interact with their habitat. Finally, the book invites the readers to make an activity and a section on glossary and resources is provided.

What's for Dinner?
By Katherine B. Hauth. Illus by David Clark. 2011. 48p. Charlesbridge (978-1570914720) Gr: 1-5.
This is a book that with poems explains how some animals eat and what they eat. Each poem will talk about a different animal. Finally a more narrative and brief description is given on each animal at the end of the book.

Where in the Wild?
By David M.Schwartz and Yael Schy. Illus by Dwight Kuhn. 2011. 44p. Trycyle Press (978-1582463995). Gr: 1-3.
The main topic of the book is camouflage. At the beginning there is an explanation about camouflage and how this adaptation is useful for animals. What is interesting about it is that kids will be challenge in finding the animal in the precise moment they are hiding by their camouflage. So, on the left side of the book there will be a poetic explanation on the animal and the situation and on the right side, they will be able to check if they have found the animal. They will have to unfold and lift the page in order to see the place where the animal is located. This is an interesting and fun way to teach this physical adaptation that will catch the student's attention.


These are some websites which can be useful when teaching this topic:

Decomposer's Information
This site, offers a lot of information on decomposers explaining the importance of their work for the rest of the environment. It also has an interview to a worm that is intended to change wrong
thoughts perceiving worms as a useless animal. Finally, there is a section where kids can explore different kind of worms.

Everything in Food Chains.
This is one of the best websites I've found on this topic. It has different sections that concisely explains concepts such us: producer, consumer, decomposer, omnivore, carnivore and herbivore. Additionally, the site offers a variety of games in each topic that are really instructional for kids where they will have to categorize organisms or make food chains. What I found interesting about this site is that has also big food chains that include lots of organisms and most importantly, that include decomposers.

Games in Food Chain
This section of this website offers a brief introduction to animal's diets describing the concept of omnivore, carnivore and herbivore, giving some examples of animals that belong to each category. Then, students can play a game building a food chain, choosing first between 2 different habitats. What I found interesting from this site is that they include in every food chain the sun as the first link of it and that after you build the food chain and submit you answer, if it is ok, they will offer a question on what would happen if one specific member of the food chain is taken out from it. The answer is really instructional and dynamic showing how this will affect all the other members. Finally, this website offers a section for teacher where one can get some ideas.

Habitats and Food Chains.
This site offers the possibility of making a food chain on 3 different habitats. What is special about this site is that while making the food chain, students will apply the concept of food web, understanding that one animal can eat and be eaten by various other organisms. So, students will have to figure out how to enter the different members in their assigned space, depending on how the arrows show the relationship between them. Finally, there is a hint where a small chart that explains from where each member gets energy from.

Instructional Video on Food Chains
This is a National Geographic video prepare to instruct students in what is a food chain and a food web, showing how living organisms interact and the importance of maintaining the natural way these organisms interact, explaining that breaking down this order will cause chaos. It also offers a quiz that may be used after watching the video that tests students in basic concepts such as the difference between consumers, producers, decomposers, omnivore, carnivore, herbivore, predator, prey and photosynthesis. Besides, some interesting facts appear between questions.


Here is a brief list of possible assessments that can be used during this unit:
  • Food Chains in Habitat: This assessment is part of an exploring activity where students are asked to observe and aquarium trying to identify its elements and members. Some questions for inferences are asked in order to assess students in identifying the functions of these elements and the relationship among them. Additionally, knowledge is expected to be applied in the last two questions being able to identify examples of other aquatic environments and animals and by ordering a food chain. Answer keys are provided.
  • Photosynthesis: this assessment is intended to test students understanding on the components needed for photosynthesis. This assessment also provides two questions for students to make inferences and one of them is a differentiation questions, depending on student's possibilities. Answer keys are included.
  • Predator - Prey: this assessment is a chart with predator and prey characteristics to be completed by students asking them to apply knowledge. Answer keys are included.
  • Review Quiz: and Crosswords: Both assessments are taken from the same website. The quiz is very complete covering all of the concepts and points of the unit. The crossword is better for testing vocabulary.
  • SOL Test: This is a sample of the SOL Virginia as an example test for this unit. Answer keys are provided. Personally, I would add some questions or exercises different from a multiple choice such a fill in the blanks, ordering a food chain, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment