ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Food for Life

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Stephanie Carver
System: Blount County
School: Hayden Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35762

Title:

Food for Life

Overview/Annotation:

Students will discover how plants, animals, and fungi are all interconnected in a giant web.  They will construct a model of a food chain to explain that energy in animals' food is used to sustain life.  They will also acknowledge that all food chains start with energy from the sun.

This lesson results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
10 ) Construct and interpret models (e.g., diagrams, flow charts) to explain that energy in animals' food is used for body repair, growth, motion, and maintenance of body warmth and was once energy from the sun.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Through constructing and using models, explain that energy in animals' food used for body repair, growth, motion, and maintenance of body warmth was once energy from the sun.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Energy
  • Repair
  • Growth
  • Motion
  • Maintenance
  • Animal
  • Plant
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The energy released [from] food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water).
  • Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use models to describe a phenomenon that includes the idea that energy in animals' food was once energy from the sun. Students identify and describe the components of the model that are relevant for describing the phenomenon, including the following:
    • Energy.
    • The sun.
    • Animals, including their bodily functions (e.g., body repair, growth, motion, body warmth maintenance).
    • Plants.
  • Identify and describe the relevant relationships between components, including the following:
    • The relationship between plants and the energy they get from sunlight to produce food.
    • The relationship between food and the energy and materials that animals require for bodily functions (e.g., body repair, growth, motion, body warmth maintenance).
    • The relationship between animals and the food they eat, which is either other animals or plants (or both), to obtain energy for bodily functions and materials for growth and repair.
  • Use the models to describe causal accounts of the relationships between energy from the sun and animals' needs for energy, including that:
    • Since all food can eventually be traced back to plants, all of the energy that animals use for body repair, growth, motion, and body warmth maintenance is energy that once came from the sun.
    • Energy from the sun is transferred to animals through a chain of events that begins with plants producing food then being eaten by animals.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Dynamics of Ecosystems

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.10- Identify that animals get their energy to grow and move from food (plants and animals); recognize that this energy was once from the sun.


Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will construct a model to explain that energy in animals' food is used to sustain life.
Students will acknowledge that all food chains start with energy from the sun.
Students will discover how plants, animals, and fungi are all interconnected in a giant web.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

For the class:
index cards with the following words printed on them: sun, rocks, minerals, soil, rain, pond, stream, tree, grass, corn, cow, guppy, trout, frog, fly, bacteria, mushroom, hawk, snake, grasshopper, termites, and human
large ball of yarn

For each group of students:
6x1 inch paper strips (6 per group)
tape
science journals and pencils
Food for Life lab sheet (copy for each student)

Technology Resources Needed:

projector to display "Food for Life" lab sheet (optional)

Background/Preparation:

Student background:  Students will need prior knowledge of food chains.  They will need to know that food chains start with the sun.  They will also need to know key vocabulary terms: producers, consumers, decomposers, tuna, mackerel, herring, predators, zooplankton, shrimp, and algae.

Teacher preparation:  Teachers will need to pre-cut the 6-inch by 1-inch paper strips for each student group and copy the Food for Life lab sheet for each student.  Students should be divided into groups of three or four to complete the "Food for Life" lab sheet.

  Procedures/Activities: 

Before/Engage:

Explain that the class is going to make a large food chain.  Ask: Where does the energy come from to start the food chain?  (The sun) Explain that while the energy for living things comes from the sun, there are many other factors that living things depend on to stay alive.  Ask: Where does soil come from? (Broken down rocks and decomposed organic material) Without decomposers to help break down dead trees and animals, there would be no organic material in soil.  Without organic material, plants would not be able to grow. 

Explain that the living environment is really a giant interconnected web of life.  Have students move to an open area and sit in a large circle.  Pass out the index cards labeled with the things found in the environment.  Each student (or pair of students if it's a large class) should get one card.  Explain that the card represents something that you can find in the natural world.  Give the end of the ball of yarn to the student who is holding the card labeled "sun".  Explain that because all energy we have here on Earth comes from the sun, this will be where the web starts.  Have the "sun" hold the end of the string and pass the ball while unrolling it to the student that has the card labeled "grass."  Explain that the grass uses sunlight to grow so it's connected to the sun.  Ask: What else does the grass need to grow? (soil) Have the "grass" hold the string and pass the ball while unrolling the string to the student who is holding the card labeled "soil."  Continue passing the ball of string around, having the students construct a model of a food web.  Eventually, the class will be left with a giant tangled web. (The students can untangle it by dropping their string and rolling the yarn back into a ball.)

Explain that most people don't even think about all the connections that go into the simple things that make our lives possible here on Earth.

During/Explore/Explain:

Divide the class into groups of three or four students and give the groups the materials needed to complete the activity on the "Food for Life" lab sheet. The materials needed are pencil, tape, and 6 strips of paper (6x1 inch).

Below are the directions from the "Food for Life" lab sheet.

1.  Write the word "tuna" on one of the strips of paper.  Using tape, tape the two ends of the strip together so that you have a ring with the word on the outside.  Tuna are predators.  What does that mean?

2.  Tuna eat smaller fish, like mackerel and herring.  Write the name of one of these fish on a second piece of paper.  Pass the end of the second strip through the opening in the "tuna" ring and bend it around to make a second ring.  Tape it to secure the ring so that you have two rings connected.  Mackerel and herring are also predators but they eat small animals like shrimp.  Shrimp eat even smaller animals called zooplankton.  Write "shrimp" and "zooplankton" on two other paper strips and link them to the chain.  Which ring will you hook the zooplankton to?  Why?

3.  Zooplankton feed off of tiny phytoplankton called algae.  Write the word "algae" on a strip.  Which ring will you connect it to?  Why?

4.  The word phyto- means "plant."  Where do algae get their energy from?  What are you going to write on the last strip of paper? (sun)

5.  Since people eat tuna, mackerel, herring, and shrimp, where would you link a ring that says "humans" on this chain?

6.  Suppose that a fleet of fishing boats came into the area where tuna live and scooped up all the shrimp.  Would that have any effect on the tuna?  Explain your answer. 

Lead a class discussion for each question.  Make sure the students are making a connection that energy in animals' food is used to sustain life and that all food chains start with the sun's energy.

After/Elaborate:

Have the students write a reflection in their Science journal for this scenario:

Suppose that there was a toxic spill that killed all the algae in the area.  What members of the food chain would be affected?  Why?


  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Formative:  Teacher observations and class discussions from the engage and "Food for Life" activities should be used to informally assess the lesson objectives.

Summative:  The student's journal reflection on the toxic spill or the "Food for Life" sheet can be used as a formal assessment.

Acceleration:

Challenge students to construct a food chain using some of their favorite snack foods.  They must research the ingredients and work backward to see where it takes them.  For example, cocoa comes from the seeds of the cacao tree.  Some gelatin comes from the joints of animals like cows and sheep.

Intervention:

Students needing extra assistance should be paired with a peer tutor.  Oral answers may be given on the "Food for Life" lab sheet.  Key vocabulary terms may need to be taught in a small group setting prior to the lesson.


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.