MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Food Web and Chains Activity using Differentiated Tiering by Level of Challenge and Complexity

Food Web and Chains Activity using Differentiated Tiering by Level of Challenge and Complexity

Leah Ol
Owatonna Junior High School (Owatonna, MN)
Activity adapted by Making Differentiation a Habit: How to Ensure Success in Academically Diverse Classrooms by Diane Heacox, Ed.D.

Summary

Summary: In the task one tiered assignments students are asked to construct a food web to show the relationship of the animals and plants in a given environment. The task one assignment is for those students who have already mastered task two content. In the task two tiered assignment students are asked to create a food chain in a given environment. This task is for students who need practice on creating a food chain.

Learning Goals

Goals: Students will be able to come up with a list of living animals and plants in a given environment. From this list, students will be able to create either a food web or food chain depending on the task provided by the instructor. After completing the task, students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of food web or food chain to other students in the class during a class discussion. Words and concepts to be reviewed: Food web, food chain, characteristics of living things, environment.

Context for Use

Context for use: This activity could be used as a review activity. However, it is differentiated for those students who have already mastered the task of creating a food chain (task one) and now explore a more challenging concept of a food web (task two). This activity is done at the seventh-grade life science class. You could use it to review the concepts at a high school life science level. This class activity will take about twenty minutes to create the web or chain using poster paper and then presenting/discussion after will require extra time. No more than four students per group. Equipment needed: Poster paper for each group, folder explaining the assignment for each group, markers, sheet of notebook paper to brain storm living animals and plants in their environment.

Subject: Biology:Ecology
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8)

Description and Teaching Materials

Task One:
1. Brainstorm living animals and plants that you would expect to find in a river. Also think about who eats who in your ecosystem. (you can also use other environments for different groups or keep them the same)
2. Construct a food web to show the relationship of the animals and plants in the river. Keep in mind that an animal or plant may be used for food for more than one animal.

Pass out a notebook sheet, markers, and a folder with the following information in it for groups doing task two, also include a model of a food chain:
Task Two:
1. Brainstorm living animals and plants that you would expect to find in a river. Also think about who consumes who in your ecosystem. (you can also use other environments for different groups or keep them the same)
2. Choose an animal and think of other animals that eat it and it eats.
3. Draw at least three food chains to show how animals and plants depend on each other in the river.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Instead of having students brainstorm living plants and animals in the environment use a chart with those animals and plants on it. The chart should have the name, description of the plant or animal, and characteristics of living things in a river. Students will then be using chart analysis skills as well.

Assessment

Instuctor could give group participation points when students present their food web or food chart. At the end of the allotted time, have students show and explain their group's food web or food chains. You can then discuss other questions such as what would happen if certain animals or plants wouldn't be there, etc.

Standards

Standards: Interdependence among Living Systems: (2) The flow of energy and the recycling of matter are essential to a stable ecosystem – Describe the roles and relationships among producers, consumers and decomposers in changing energy from one form to another in a food web within an ecosystem. And, (3) Explain that the total amount of matter in an ecosystem remains the same as it is transferred between organisms and their physical environment, even though its form and location change.

References and Resources

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