By the time students reach middle school, they understand that hamburgers from their favorite fast food places are from cows and the ham they eat on holidays is from a pig. But do they truly understand the food chain and food webs?
Use the activities here in your science unit to engage all students and teach them the fascinating world of the food chain.
Food Chain Videos
1. Food Chain Introduction
This video is great it introduces a lot of key vocabulary related to the study of the food chain. It discusses the flow of energy, beginning with photosynthesis and moving all the way up the chain. Use this video at the very beginning of your unit to open up discussions about food chains.
Learn more: Learn Bright
2. Food Webs Crash Course
This 4-minute video discusses ecosystems and how all plants and animals within that ecosystem are part of a food web. It investigates what happens when an animal species is taken out of a healthy ecosystem.
Learn more: Crash Course Kids
3. Food Chains: As Told By the Lion King
This is a great short video to reinforce the concepts about food chains covered in your unit--from primary consumers to secondary consumers, everyone is covered in this quick video using the Lion King as a reference that almost all students will recognize.
Learn more: Madison Thompson
Food Chain Worksheets
4. Food Web Worksheet
This ten-page packet of food chain worksheets has everything you need for a food chain unit! From defining basic food chain vocabulary to discussion questions, this packet will both assess your students' knowledge and keep them engaged.
Learn more: Crooks Ville
5. Crossword Puzzle
After students understand the concepts of food chains, give them this crossword to test their knowledge. If you want easier or more complex crosswords, you can create your own crossword online using a crossword maker.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
6. Word Search
Solidify students' knowledge of key terms by having them complete this fun food web activity. They will race to see who can find words like "predator" and "prey" the fastest!
Learn more: Monster Word Search
Food Chain Games
7. Food Fight
Play this fun digital food game with your class or pair students up and let them play against each other. Whoever is able to build the best ecosystem with the biggest population wins. Students will have to learn the correct flow of energy to win!
Learn more: Brain Pop
8. Woodland Food Chain Challenge
This is a great food web activity to add to your fun food chain games folder. It is quick yet educational and will have students fully understanding the interactions between organisms. The levels increase with difficulty as students build successful food chains. There are also savannah and tundra food chain challenges for them to do!
Learn more: Toy Box Tools BBC
9. Food Chain Red Rover
Get students up and moving by playing the classic game of Red Rover. In order to make it about the food chain, give each student a card with a picture of a different plant or animal. The two teams take turns calling over players to make a complete food chain. The first team to have a complete chain wins!
Learn more: Love to Know
10. Food Web Tag
This food web game will get kids up and active. After assigning students roles as producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, or tertiary consumers, they play the classic game of tag to illustrate the different interactions within the food chain.
Learn more: Science World
Food Web Anchor Charts
11. Simple and to the Point
This anchor chart idea is great because it explains the different parts of the food chain in simple, yet thorough terms. If students need a reminder of one aspect of the food chain, they simply need to look at this chart to get a reminder.
Learn more: Daniela Correa
12. Detailed Food Chain Anchor Chart
This cute, clever anchor chart explains each part of the food chain and food web through colorful illustrations. Break out a piece of butcher paper and create a chart to illustrate the different interactions between organisms.
Learn more: Pinterest
Crafts and Hands-On Food Chain Activities
13. Food Chain Puzzles
A fun activity to add to your food chain lessons is food chain puzzles. You can make this activity more complex by adding in even more producers and consumers and creating different puzzles for different ecosystems.
Learn more: Teacher's Worksation
14. Food Chain Pyramids
This activity is a combination of the food chain and food pyramid ideas. After introducing them to our food pyramid, have them create their own pyramid, but with the food chain in mind. At the top of their pyramid, they will put tertiary consumers, and they'll work their way down to the bottom producers.
Learn more: Education
15. Food Chain Activity with Yarn
Students seeming bored with your food chain lesson plans? Give them cards with different animals and plants on them. With a ball of yarn in hand, have them stand in a circle and throw the ball to the student holding the next animal/plant in the food chain. You can make the different links on the web more apparent by giving students different colors of yarn instead of using one single ball.
Learn more: Virginia Aquarium
16. Food Webs Marble Mazes
This fun food chain STEM activity will have all students engaged. First, they choose what they want to create: a tundra, woodland, ocean, or desert ecosystem food web. Then following the directions, they create food webs displaying how energy moves through the chain.
Learn more: Student Savvy
17. Food Diary
Add food diaries to your food webs unit. Having students keep a food diary in their science notebooks will have them monitor their place in the food web while also teaching them about nutrition. It never hurts to be more aware of what we are putting into our bodies!
Learn more: Jillian Almoney
18. Food Web Diorama
Using toy plants and animals, have students create a food web diorama to display what a healthy ecosystem looks like.
Learn more: Tolo
19. Illustrate Energy Flow with Dominoes
Use dominoes in your food webs lesson to demonstrate the direction of energy flow through the food chain. You can make this even more interesting by having students tape pictures of different producers and consumers on the dominoes and then lining them up in the correct order!
Learn more: Accelerate Learning
20. Nesting Dolls
Create an adorable ocean food chain with these cute nesting dolls! It's an easy way to cover food chain concepts and the transfer of energy in food chains, as the larger "dolls" eat the smaller ones. You can do this same activity with different ecosystems!
Learn more: Super Simple