Fun Food Chain Activities

Jennifer Sinsel, elementary teacher and contributor to Lesson Planet, has designed a wonderful lesson on food chains that incorporates reading and literacy, as well as, the exploration of new concepts through hands on activities.

She recommends beginning the science lesson by reading aloud Brian Ellis' book "The Web at Dragonfly Pond". This story describes the author's own discovery of the natural links and interconnectedness of living things as he fishes with his father. Sinsel suggests opening story time with a discussion of the student's expectations for the story based solely on the title. She recounts that many children will expect the book to be about spiders because their experience with 'webs', thus far, has been related to these arachnids. Once the story has been read, Sinsel takes the opportunity to explain to her students the concept of a 'food web'. Next, she has her class simulate a food web with yarn. Each student is assigned a role as a plant, animal, etc. and are given a sticky note to place on their chest. Assuming the role of the sun (or assigning it to another student), Sinsel demonstrates the game by passing the yarn to another student and describing how she is related to that particular plant or animal (i.e. "I am related to the grass because it needs me to grow", etc.). The game continues until each student has had a turn (and some will have more than one). Sinsel's activity helps students to visually see the 'webs' created in nature! Be sure to read her article for more great ideas!

Food Chains: Integrating Science and Reading

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