Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students explore food webs and investigate some of the ways climate change might affect food webs. Students begin by looking at what a food web is, and then work in groups to use the ClimateWatch app to create a food web including animals in their local area. Students can then use one of two scenarios to explore how climate change might impact the food web they have created. Finally, students will consider how these impacts might affect the broader ecosystem.

 

This lesson has been developed in partnership with Earthwatch. Earthwatch developed the ClimateWatch program with the Bureau of Meteorology and The University of Melbourne to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting the seasonal behaviour of Australia’s plants and animals. 

 

 

Learning intentions:

  • Students investigate how food webs can help us to understand relationships between species.
  • Students recognise how food webs can help us to predict the impacts of climate change on ecosystems.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Interactions between organisms, including the effects of human activities can be represented by food chains and food webs (ACSSU112)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence (ACSIS130)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS133)

Year 8 Science

  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence (ACSIS145)
  • Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims based on evidence (ACSIS234)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS148)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-7WS, SC4-8WS, SC4-9WS, SC4-14LW, SC4-15LW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, ICT Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms. They summarise data from different sources, and communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations. 

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas and findings in a range of text types.

Topic: Biodiversity, Climate Change.

Unit of work: ClimateWatch: Citizen Science – Science – Years 7 & 8.

Time needed: 60 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activities and lead students in discussion.

Resources required: Tablets with ClimateWatch app installed. Internet access. Student Worksheet – print one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Food Web WorksheetFood Web Worksheet Answers one copy per student. Enough pieces of A6 paper for each student. Optional – Food Webs for Display.

Digital technology opportunities: ClimateWatch app.

Keywords: Earthwatch, ClimateWatch, citizen science, food chains, food webs, biodiversity, climate change, environment, citizen science, app.

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

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Learning intentions: 

  • Students investigate how food webs can help us to understand relationships between species.
  • Students recognise how food webs can help us to predict the impacts of climate change on ecosystems.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... describe what a food web is, in their own words.
  • ... hypothesise how climate change might affect species in their local area.
  • ... create a food web.
  • ... use the ClimateWatch app.

Teacher content information: ClimateWatch is a citizen science initiative developed by Earthwatch that seeks to educate people from across Australia on the issue of climate change and empower them to contribute to solutions. Through its ClimateWatch program, Earthwatch works with educators to help them bring their experiences back to the classroom to foster new generations of environmental leaders. By incorporating ClimateWatch into curriculum, students and teachers will become more knowledgeable about climate change an

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is the 'web of life'?

How might Climate Change affect Food Webs?

You will now be working in groups of four or five to research and create a rough sketch of a food web for species in your local area. You can use the ClimateWatch app or website to identify species in your area, as well as field guides available online or in your library.

Once you have created your food web, your group then needs to think about and investigate how climate change might affect the species in your food web. There are two options for doing this – your teacher will tell you which option you should choose:

OPTION A. Select one of the following scenarios, and describe how this scenario would affect their food web (example responses provided):

  • Rising annual temperatures cause spring to arrive 10 days earlier.
    Example response – Flowering plants bud too early for the insects who would normally assist in pollination to have hatched causing pollination rates to drop significantly, aff
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