BROWARD COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCIENCE BENCHMARK PLAN. SC.F The student knows how all animals depend on plants.

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1 activity 38 Food Chain Game BROWARD COUNTY ELEMENTARY SCIENCE BENCHMARK PLAN Grade 3 Quarter 4 Activity 38 SC.B The student knows how to trace the flow of energy in a system (e.g., as in an ecosystem). SC.B The student knows that some source of energy is needed for organisms to stay alive and grow. SC.F The student knows how all animals depend on plants. SC.G The student knows ways that plants, animals, and protists interact. SC.G The student knows that living things compete in a climatic region with other living things and that structural adaptations make them fit for an environment. SC.H The student knows that to work collaboratively, all team members should be free to reach, explain, and justify their own individual conclusions. SC.H The student knows that a model of something is different from the real thing but can be used to learn something about the real thing. ACTIVITY ASSESSMENT OPPORTUNITIES The following suggestions are intended to help identify major concepts covered in the activity that may need extra reinforcement. The goal is to provide opportunities to assess student progress without creating the need for a separate, formal assessment session (or activity) for each of the 40 hands-on activities at this grade level. 1. Ask students to identify the role of each of these items in the Food Chain game. a. the popcorn (producers, plants.) b. a cricket (A cricket is a consumer when it eats producers, but it can also be prey when it is eaten by an anole.) c. an anole (An anole is a predator, but because it can be eaten by an owl, it is also prey.) d. an owl (The owl is the top predator in this food chain.) broward county hands-on science Quarter 4 393

2 After evaluating these roles, ask students if they think this game is another example of a scientific model and to explain why. (Yes, it is a model. It is not the real thing, but it helped us study how a real food chain works.) 2. Use the Activity Sheet(s) to assess student understanding of the major concepts in the activity. In addition to the above assessment suggestions, the questions in bold and tasks that students perform throughout the activity provide opportunities to identify areas that may require additional review before proceeding further with the activity. 394 activity 38 Food Chain Game

3 activity 38 Food Chain Game OBJECTIVES Students play a game that simulates the dynamics of a food chain. By acting the roles of different members of the food chain, students come to understand food chain relationships more clearly. The students act out feeding relationships between crickets, anoles, and owls discuss how it feels to be the prey or the predator compare simulated food chain relationships with real ones SCHEDULE About 50 minutes VOCABULARY predator prey MATERIALS For each student 1 Activity Sheet 38 1 bag, plastic, reclosable, 15 cm 15 cm For the class 1 chart, Food Chain Game crayons, red, blue, and yellow* 1 hole punch* 32 index cards 1 marker* 1 bag popcorn 1 roll tape, masking 1 ball yarn Delta Science Reader Food Chains and Webs *provided by the teacher PREPARATION Arrange to have the use of the playground or gymnasium for the game. Make a copy of Activity Sheet 38 for each student. Label eighteen index cards cricket, nine index cards anole, and five index cards owl. Punch a hole in the the top corners of each card, as shown in Figure Have students use crayons to color the cricket cards yellow, the anole cards blue, and the owl cards red, to make them easier to distinguish. Pop two large bowls of popcorn. Cut a piece of yarn 1 m (about 3 ft) long for each student. BACKGROUND INFORMATION In real life, it is often difficult to observe all the feeding relationships of a community. In this activity, students assume the roles of the animals they have been studying and simulate their feeding behavior in a game of food-chain tag (see Figure 38-1). In doing so, they gain a deeper understanding of the interactions that define a food chain. broward county hands-on science Quarter 4 395

4 The term predator refers to an animal that hunts and eats other animals, while prey is the term for the animal that is hunted and eaten. In this game of food-chain tag, the owls will try to eat (tag) the anoles, the anoles will try to eat (tag) the crickets, and the crickets will eat (collect) the popcorn (representing grass and seeds). The object of the game is for each animal to get something to eat before being eaten by a predator. In this simulation, there are about twice as many crickets as anoles and about twice as many anoles as owls. In nature, there are always many fewer predators than the animals they prey upon, because it takes many prey animals to support each predator. (Actually, this difference is closer to a ratio of 10-to-1 than 2-to-1). If your class size is smaller than the 32 students indicated, be sure to keep the ratios of predators to prey similar. Activity Sheet 38 Food Chain Game 1. Which animals did you play during the game? Answer the following questions for any animals that you played: 2. What was easy about being a. a cricket? b. an anole? c. an owl? 3. What was hard about being a. a cricket? b. an anole? c. an owl? 4. Did you find any food when you were a. a cricket? b. an anole? c. an owl? 5. Did you get eaten as food when you were a. a cricket? b. an anole? Answers will vary. 6. Can you think of anything that would make your life easier if you were really any of these animals? What? 7. Which of these animals would you choose to be? Why? 1 Guiding the Activity Review food chain relationships by writing grass, cricket, anole, and owl on the board and asking, How can we make a food chain out of these plants and animals? Write predator on the board and explain that predator is the term for an animal that hunts and eats another animal. Additional Information by drawing arrows between grass and cricket, cricket and anole, and anole and owl 2 Write prey on the board and explain that prey is a term for animals that are eaten by other animals. Distribute a name tag and a piece of yarn to each student. Have the students tie the yarn through the holes in the name tags. Tell students that they will be playing a food chain tag game, and explain the rules of the game. 396 activity 38 Food Chain Game Some students may realize that many prey are also secondary consumers. This will allow them to hang the name tags around their necks during the game. Popcorn is scattered on the playing area to represent food for the crickets. Eighteen students will play crickets, nine students will play anoles, and five students will play owls.

5 3 Guiding the Activity Remind the students to bring their name tags, then take students to the area where you will play the game. Take along the popped popcorn, masking tape, the Food Chain Game chart, the plastic bags, and a marker. When you are in the location where the game will be played, tape the Food Chain Game chart to a nearby wall. Scatter popcorn over the playing area (see Figure 38-1). Additional Information The purpose of the game is for each animal to tag the kind of animal it eats. When a student is tagged, she or he must give her or his name tag and popcorn to the tagger, and go to the time-out area. There will also be a safe area in the game for students to rest while still playing. Note: Tell students not to eat the popcorn under any circumstances. Figure Students playing the Food Chain Game. broward county hands-on science Quarter 4 397

6 4 Guiding the Activity Designate a safe area. Explain to students that they may only stay in the safe area for 20 seconds at a time, and that predators must stay five steps away from the safe area. Designate a time-out area and explain that any student that is tagged must go to the time-out area and stay there until that round of the game is completed. Have students put their name tags around their necks, if they have not already done so. Tell them that they must wait to begin until their animal name is called. Review the rules of the game. Give each student a plastic bag and start the game by saying, Crickets can begin! After about 30 seconds, say, Anoles can begin! Then in another 30 seconds say, Owls can begin! Additional Information Explain that the safe area is similar to the hideouts and shelters that the real animals use. This will prevent students from being tagged just as they emerge from the safe area. Crickets will collect popcorn in their bags; anoles will try to tag crickets; owls will try to tag anoles. When students are tagged, they will give any popcorn they have and their name tag to the one who tagged them and go to the time-out area. Play the game for 5 10 minutes, then call a break. Take a census of which animals remain in the game, and record this information on the game chart on the wall (see Figure 38-2). Food Chain Game Wait to discuss the results until after all three rounds are completed. Game 1 Begin End Crickets 18 Anoles 9 Owls 5 Figure The game chart. 398 activity 38 Food Chain Game Game 2 Begin Crickets 18 Anoles 9 Owls 5 Game 3 Begin Crickets 18 Anoles 9 Owls 5 End End

7 Guiding the Activity Additional Information Have students scatter the popcorn back over the playing area, redistribute the name tags, and repeat the game twice more. Encourage students to play different animal roles in the different rounds. 5 Take the chart down, return to the classroom, and tape the chart to the board. Distribute a copy of Activity Sheet 38 to each student and allow time for all students to answer all of the questions. Review the terms predator and prey by asking, Which animals in this game were predators? Which were prey? The owls and the anoles were predators, and the anoles and the crickets were both prey. Lead a discussion by asking, What was it like to be a cricket or an anole? Both the crickets and the anoles had the challenge of finding food while trying to stay away from their predators. Ask, What was it like being an owl? As the top predator, owls did not have to worry about anything hunting them, but they had less available food than the crickets and the anoles. Ask, What helped each kind of animal be successful? Students will probably say it was helpful to be fast, to be able to change directions quickly, and to have a place to hide (the safe area). Point out to students that these same things are useful for real animals. Ask, How could we change the game to make it more like real life? Students may realize that being able to camouflage themselves like the anoles or hide under leaves like the crickets would be helpful to their survival. 6 Ask, Were all the animals in any one group eaten? Ask, What would happen in real life if all the prey animals were eaten? Tell students that in nature there are usually many more prey animals than predator animals, and just as in the game, it is very rare that all the prey animals are eaten. It is unlikely this would happen, since the game is set up with more of each type of prey than predator. Eventually, the predators would suffer from hunger because of lack of food. They might even starve to death, if their diet consisted of only one type of prey. broward county hands-on science Quarter 4 399

8 7 Guiding the Activity As appropriate, read or review pages 4 9 of the Delta Science Reader Food Chains and Webs. Additional Information R EINFORCEMENT Play the game with plants, and primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers typical to your region. For example, you might play the game with hawks, snakes, mice, and seeds, or with foxes, birds, butterflies, and flowers. Scatter the popcorn in an appropriate place outside for wild birds to eat. Have students observe what happens and discuss the food chain involved. SCIENCE JOURNALS Have students place their completed activity sheets in their science journals. C LEANUP Have students empty the popcorn out of the plastic bags and return the bags to the kit, along with the masking tape and name tags. Recycle or dispose of the Food Chain Game chart. 400 activity 38 Food Chain Game

9 Connections Science Challenge Ask students whether earthworms could have been included in the food chain game. (Yes. Some owls eat earthworms, and an anole might eat an earthworm if it were small enough and above ground so the anole could catch it.) Would the food chain be longer if earthworms were added to the game? (No. Earthworms would be in a separate food chain with an owl and/or an anole. Crickets and grass would not be part of that food chain.) Ask students to find out what other animals eat earthworms. (Earthworm predators include other birds, other lizards, frogs, toads, snakes, skunks, and rats.) Have students suggest food chains that include these animals as well as earthworms and owls. Science Extension Write the terms herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, and scavenger on the board. Explain that herbivores are animals that eat only plants and plant products. Which type of consumer in a food chain are herbivores? (primary consumers) Carnivores are meat-eaters animals that eat other living animals, including worms, insects, and other types of animals that we may not think of as meat. What type of consumer in a food chain are carnivores? (secondary consumers or higher) Omnivores are animals that eat both plants and their products and other animals. What type of consumer in a food chain are omnivores? (primary consumers when they eat plants and their products; secondary or higher consumers when they eat other animals) Scavengers are animals that eat dead animals. Where do scavengers belong in a food chain? (Scavengers could be considered secondary or higher consumers or could be grouped with decomposers.) Ask students to research and identify examples of herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and scavengers. Make sure students understand that an animal may be both a carnivore or omnivore and a scavenger, depending on how it obtained a particular food. For example, hyenas are often named as a major example of scavengers, since they eat the remains of kills made by lions or other hunters. However, hyenas are also skillful hunters themselves. When they hunt and kill other animals, hyenas are carnivores. Science and Health Tell students that humans are often named as an example of omnivores, but this is not entirely accurate. For a variety of reasons, many people choose not to eat meat or other animal foods. Such people are called vegetarians. Ask students to find out about different types of vegetarian diets and whether such diets are healthy. (Strict vegetarians eat no animal foods of any kind. Other vegetarians eat fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products but do not eat red meat. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs, milk, and milk products but do not eat red meat, fish, or poultry. Vegetarian diets are healthy so long as they contain all essential nutrients, including complementary proteins and vitamin B12, which is ordinarily found only in animal products. A vegetarian diet is low in fat, so vegetarians are less likely to be overweight or to develop diseases associated with high fat consumption.) Science and Language Arts Ask students to use a dictionary to find out where the words herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore come from. (From the Latin herba, meaning grass ; carn, flesh ; omni, all ; and vorus, to devour, thus feeding on. ) broward county hands-on science Quarter 4 401

10 402 activity 38 Food Chain Game

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