Lesson 3

Please Pass the Energy


Lesson Overview:

How are we connected? Whose food chain are we linked to? Students will connect the community members using tacks and pieces of yarn to demonstrate how energy flows through the community to create a variety of food chains within the community.


Content Standards Addressed:
Common Core State Standards



Any ecosystem is sustained and driven by energy, the primary source of which is the sun. Plants absorb the sun's energy, converting it to food. They are the ecosystem's producers. Many critters eat plants to get energy. They are the consumers. Some consumers are herbivores (they only eat plants), some are carnivores (they eat only other critters) and some are omnivores (they eat both.) As energy passes from the sun to a plant to an animal to another animal, a food chain is created in the ecosystem. Energy is lost as it goes through the chain.

Plants and animals are interconnected in an ecosystem by the need for energy or food. In this activity, students will make visual energy connections among the members of the school grounds' ecosystem using the classroom map they have created.



Have students observe their school grounds' habitat map and create a simple food chain beginning with the sun and including a plant, an herbivore and a carnivore or omnivore. Connect the food chain on the map using push pins and colored yarn. A plant or animal can be a part of more than one food chain. Each simple food chain will use a different colored yarn.

Some example food chains might be:

Sun --> dandelion --> rabbit --> hawk

Sun --> dandelion --> bumble bee --> spider

Sun --> acorns /oak tree --> squirrel --> fox

If we remove a member of the ecosystem through natural impacts, for example, cutting down a tree, will this affect the rest of the ecosystem? Will the energy flow be affected? Will it affect just one or two members? Illustrate the action and what happens in the Logbooks.



Take Home: Find and draw a picture of a food chain in your backyard or neighborhood.

Human Impact: Draw a picture of what happens if you remove one member of the food chain.                   ​