Lesson 3

Spinning the Food Web



Using balls of yarn, students will createa food web that demonstrates the interdependence of species in the environment.


Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards 



  • Index cards.
  • Colored yarn cut into 8-10 20-foot lengths.
  • A large ball of yarn (another color).
  • Tape.



Herbivores: Animals that eat only plants.

Carnivores: Animals that eat other animals.

Omnivores: Animals that eat both plants and animals.



Select a habitat for your food web. An ocean is a great choice for a successful activity, but other choices, such as deserts, marshes, rivers and forests will also work. In this activity, one student will need to represent humans and one student will represent plants. They should remain outside the food web while it is being created.

The other students will represent the herbivores, omnivores and carnivores in the habitat. Create labels to represent the creatures in the habitat's food chain from largest to smallest. Students should attach the labels to themselves with tape.

Hand one ball of yarn to the largest "creature" in the food chain. This creature then hands the ball of yarn to its prey or food source. Leave several feet of slack yarn between each creature. Repeat this procedure with the largest animals representing each type of species. Omnivores will wind up holding more than one string of yarn.

When all of the threads of the web are established, have the student who represents the human gather up the ends of the yarn of the large creatures that he might eat (this may take some imagination if a creature is not a normal part of your students' diets). The student who represents the plant should gather the yarn from all of the creatures who eat something derived from plants and stand at the opposite side from the human.

In the end, the students will have created a large food web with strands of yarn connecting all of the creatures in the middle. The human and plant will form points at either end of the web.