Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Food Chain

Renee Benefield


Students gain an amazing understanding of how from the smallest to the largest creature, most living things depend on other living things to survive, especially when it comes meeting the need for food.


The student understands that living things are part of a food chain.


-Chalk board or large chart paper
-Pictures of various animals( particularly wild animals(lion) and small animals that a lion may eat, bugs, birds, large mammals, any animals which would be considered part of a particular food chain, and plants)
-Strips of paper to make a small paper chain
-Enough strips for the students to have 3 pieces to make their own models of a food chain.
-Paper for student drawings to glue to their food chain models.


1. Cuts strips of paper--enough for each student to have 3 strips.
2. Gather pictures that would be representative of several different food chains.
3. Glue together a chain for a food chain model.


1. Introduce the lesson by asking the students on whom they depend to help meet their basic needs. Ask students if they think other living things, such as animals, depend on other living things to survive.

2. Explain that in today's science lesson they will be looking at a very important part of how most things are interrelated and depend on each other to survive.

3. Show a picture of a plant and a lion (or other meat-eating animal). Ask students if they think the lion needs these plants to live.

4. Start the class discussion by asking students what lions eat. They should respond that a lion is a meat-eater or carnivore. This would be a good time to discuss the term prey. To prey on something means to eat it. Birds prey on bugs. Bears prey on fish. Snakes prey on rodents. From this discussion, ask the students what does the smaller animal eat that the lion does not eat. They should respond that it eats plants.

5. Display or draw a picture of the lion at the top of the paper or board. Then display or draw a picture of the smaller prey in the middle and the plants at the bottom of the paper. Explain that this is a very important model of a food chain. Explain that a food chain is when animals depend on other animals and plants to meet their need to eat and survive. Show the paper chain and show the students that if any part of the chain is broken off or missing that the chain is not going to exist the way it should. If you take away the plants, then there would be no food for the small animals and they would die. If you take away the small animals then the lions would starve to death. Ask the students what they think would happen if we took away the lions. Help them understand that the smaller animals would become overpopulated and there may not be enough grass to support all of the smaller animals.

6. Have the students give another example of a food chain, explaining that it will be easier if they start with the animal at the top and work their way down. Encourage them to try to use ocean animals, also.

7. Review the important components of the food chain, that most animals depend on other living things to survive. Explain that if any part of the food chain if left out or broken then the entire chain suffers. It would be very interesting to bring out the fact that without sunlight or water that all food chains would suffer. Have the students discuss why this may be.

8. Explain that they will be making their own food chain models. Show them how to make the paper chain by using glue and making the links and how to interlink them. Then have them copy one of the examples of a food chain that was discussed in the lesson.

9. Allow time for the students to complete their chains. As students work, circulate and offer feedback and advice.

10. Allow time for students to share their food chains. Collect food chains and display them in the room.


After participating in a lesson on defining a food chain, students will construct their own simple model of a food chain which should include 3 individual components. The assessment will be the student's construction of a pictorial food chain and the components which should include the animal at the top of the food chain, its prey and the food source for the animal of prey.
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