What we did:
This project teaches children about the food chain. They will understand how biological interactions work and the importance of each link in the food chain. They will learn about the energy flow in an ecosystem and the difference between producers and consumers.
The children will discuss basic ecology with their teacher and give examples of food chains (e.g. carrot–> rabbit –> fox). They will play a game where they take on the roles of each animal in a food chain and pretend to eat each other. During the game, they will answer questions about the direction of energy flow and what the roles of each animals are (e.g. producer, consumer, predator, decomposer). They will discuss what happens if one of the organisms goes extinct. The teacher will tell them about trophic cascades, using the example of the impacts wolves had on Yellowstone National Park when they were re-introduced.
The children will then make their own ocean food chain. They cut out pictures of phytoplankon, zooplankton, small fish, mackerel, mahi mahi and sharks and stick them onto their page in the correct order. They will then draw on the sheet what direction the energy is flowing.
How did it go?
The project went really well and the children got very excited by it. They all wanted to tell the teacher about their ecology knowledge that they had learned from watching documentaries. This helped reinforce things they have previously learned on this topic. They all took home an ocean food chain and were very keen to show their parents. They learned a lot about how we must respect ecosystems and how easily they can be disturbed. They were fascinated by the story of the wolves in Yellowstone National Park.
200 children were involved over the course of 16 hours and we hope that many more were impacted as the kids brought home their food chain and told their siblings and parents about it.