Science, Life Science
Grade 5- 8
Students create food webs for animals in the arctic.
Discuss with students the fact that living things need food in order to survive. A food chain shows how living things need each other for food. A green plant is usually found at the bottom of a food chain. The plant uses energy from the sun to carry on a process called photosynthesis. This allows the plant to produce its own food. As a result, the plant in a food chain is called a producer.
The producer, or plant, is eaten by an animal that is a herbivore, which is an animal that eats only plants, or an omnivore, which is an animal that eats plants and other animals. On the food chain, the animal that eats the producer is called a consumer. This is because it consumes the producer.
In the next part of a food chain, the consumer is eaten by another animal that is a carnivore, which is an animal that eats only meat, or an omnivore. This animal is also called a consumer.
Here is an example of a food chain. Notice that the arrows start with the producer and point toward the consumers.
Producer --> Consumer --> Consumer
(Grass) --> (Grasshopper) --> (Bird)
There are many food chains living in a community. Some are very simple, while others are more complex. Since most animals eat more than one type of food, they might have several different food chains that can be made. When food chains connect or overlap, it is called a food web. If one part of the food web becomes extinct, the entire web may be affected, causing drastic consequences.
Write these examples of food webs on the board:
Snowy Owl --> Lemming --> Plants
Snowy Owl --> Arctic Hare --> Plants
Snowy Owl --> Ground Squirrel --> Plants
Ask students if they can create a food web that begins with humans. Have them write some possible webs on the board. Discuss what we are dependant on in order to survive.
Distribute copies of the Arctic Food Web activity sheet to students. Have them use any resource materials available to complete the activity.