Carolina Biological OSE – April 2024


Forums / Elementary Science / Food Chains

Elementary Science

Food Chains

Author Post
Gladys Gonzalez Gladys Gonzalez 610 Points

Hello, I am a student teacher in 2nd grade and we are currently learning about food chains. I am having difficulties finding hands on activities for students to really understand the concept, especially the transfer of energy from one organism to the next. The students want to draw the arrows the wrong way, and want something that is very concrete, so that they understand the transfer of energy from one organism to the next. Any resources would be greatly appreciated.

Jeff Torrance Jeff Torrance 560 Points

Hi, For a food chain activity I printed out a lot of pictures of animals and plants in a biome (eg Grassland) Grass etc. I would then order them in the room on a wall from the sun at the bottom sending energy to the plants. Then I would figure out all the animals that eat the plants an put them in the next layer. then the things that eat them and so on till I get to the apex predators. I changed the size of the pictures to also represent the numbers of the animals/plants. lots of grass eaters, less predators. Then I would also put a little arrow from each level back to the plants to represent the energy going back into the cycle from waste and decay. Its a good representation and there is a good amount of discussion and debate.

Sophia Fernandez Sophia Fernandez 3385 Points

Hello Gladys, I am currently studying to be an Elementary School Teacher. Through my experience I have observed many lessons and even performed some myself. One lesson that deals with Food Chains that can be fun and interactive is a human food chain. One of my teachers assigned each student a different animal. Based on the animal they were assigned, they were only able to eat specific foods, or other animals. Students were to go around the classroom searching for the food they needed, while trying not to be eaten by other animals. If you were eaten, or taped on the shoulder, you were to sit down. The remaining animal should be at the top of the food chain. This is a fun activity for students and it gets them moving around. They also learn the concept of how a food chain works.

Melanie Cabrera Melanie Cabrera 2830 Points

Hi Gladys! A great hands-on inquiry activity is definitely creating a human food chain with your students. Give each student in your class an animal in a food chain, from there have the students stand up and create the human food chain as a class playing TAG. Place the food chain on the board so they can be aware of what they eat and only do a few animals so that they can understand! Also, include humans since we are at the top of the food chain and then have them come up with some explanations of what we eat and what the other animals eat. The students will come to understand the transfer or energy through food chains after being physically involved. Hope that helps! Good luck!

Melissa Deleon Melissa Deleon 740 Points

I am a student teacher in fourth grade, and I am working on the same topic, and struggling as well. My mentor teacher suggested a flash card game with animals, and the students have to put them in order. She also said she would cut out the arrows and give each students pictures of plants and animals to "act out" the chain. I am going to be trying this in my classroom, and hopefully it will help the students understand the transfer of energy better by seeing it. Good luck with your second graders!

Christine Gadbois Christine Gadbois 660 Points

Hi Gladys! I recently had the recommendation of making food chains specific to different biomes and allowing students to put them in order. You would just need to print out pictures and arrows for the kids to practice placing in the correct order. I think one way that you could stress that the arrows move in the direction that the energy flows, is by drawing the sun rays as arrows going out to the producer and explain that the energy continues to move in that direction from producer to consumer.

Idania Caceres Idania Caceres 2185 Points

Hi Gladys, I recently created and executed an inquiry-based lesson on the food chain. I decided to stick to a specific ecosystem, the Everglades. I made information cards on the plants and animals that live in the Everglades. You can have the students draw or color the animals on the information cards before they read and take note of the information. Then students are to make an individual or whole group food chain. You can place it on the board or do it an interactive white board so students can visualize how energy flows through the food chain. Hope this helps!

Taylor Luu Taylor Luu 365 Points

Hello! I am currently planning a lesson on food webs and it sort of implements food chains. A hands-on activity that I am doing is the Pass the Yarn game. I give each student a different card for example, I give one student a Sun, another student Grass, Deer, Lion, etc. I have the student with the sun hold the ball first. Then I ask the student, who needs the energy? The student will then toss the ball the grass. So on and so forth. The students will make a food chain/food web. I will ask the students what the ball represents and hopefully, they tell me it represents energy being passed from one source to another. I hope this helps!

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