Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students explore the idea of food webs by undertaking a nature survey and identifying the role each organism plays in their schoolyard food web. Students are asked to record both indigenous and introduced species and how their presence affects the health and balance of the schoolyard food web. Parts of this lesson can be completed using a SMARTboard activity. 

Following this lesson is an ideal way for students to participate in Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day - the largest nature-care event in Australian schools. You and your students will join thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference, fostering a child’s love of nature and creating positive environmental change. So, get growing! It only takes a minute to register for Schools Tree Day.

Learning goals

  • Design an investigation to find out how a species’ diversity is affected by habitats around the school.
  • Identify different habitats around the school and link these with different types of ecosystems.
  • Collect data about the school’s species diversity in different habitats.
  • Use data to analyse and draw conclusions.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Australian Curriculum Content Description:

Year 7 Science:

  • Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs; human activity can affect these interactions (ACSSU112)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS130)

Year 7 Mathematics:

  • Identify and investigate issues involving numerical data collected from primary and secondary sources (ACMSP169)

Year 8 Science:

  • Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships, including using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS144)

Year 8 Mathematics:

  • Investigate techniques for collecting data, including census, sampling and observation (ACMSP284)
  • Explore the practicalities and implications of obtaining data through sampling using a variety of investigative processes (ACSMP206)

Syllabus Outcomes: SC4-7WS, SC4-15LW

Topic: Schools Tree Day.

Time required: 2 x 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Assist and review student investigations.

Resources required: Computers or iPads, drawing materials, SMARTboard lesson – Food Webs (optional), Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: SMARTboard component (optional), digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Some parts of this activity can be set as homework. Includes opportunities for extension.

Key words: Food webs, animals, biodiversity, school, habitat.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

SMART Board

Food Webs (Download)

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goals: The aim of this activity is for students to design an investigation to find out how a species' diversity is affected by habitats around the school. Students will identify different habitats around the school and the way these habitats relate to local food webs. They will also link these habitats with different types of ecosystems.

Teacher content information: Food chains are a linear way to show the feeding relationships in an ecosystem. An animal grazes on the plant. Another, usually larger, animal eats the animal browser, and so on in a chain. The plant gets its energy using sunlight to make food. The browsing animal gets its energy from eating plants. The predators get their food from eating animals. We can use an arrow to show this relationship. It is important to note that the arrow always points to the animal that has just eaten something. This is because it shows the flow of energy. For example, the browsing animal eats the plant

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Where do people fit in food webs?

Food chains are a linear way to show the feeding relationships in an ecosystem. An animal grazes on the plant. Another, usually larger, animal eats the animal browser, and so on in a chain. The plant gets its energy using sunlight to make food. The browsing animal gets its energy from eating plants. The predators get their food from eating animals. We can use an arrow to show this relationship. It is important to note that the arrow always points to the animal that has just eaten something. This is because it shows the flow of energy. For example, the browsing animal eats the plant so the energy from the plant flows to the browsing animal, thus the arrow would point at the animal.

But nature isn’t as simple as a food chain. Relationships in nature are complex and involve all sorts of interconnections and energy flows that are best shown as a food web. The picture below shows an Antarctic food web.

You can see from this food web

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