Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What Makes Me Go?

Mark Howell

Description

Students look at the foods they eat during a one-week period and explore where those foods come from before they are used by the body for energy.

Objectives

The student understands how the flow of energy through an ecosystem made up of producers, consumers, and decomposers carries out the processes of life and that some energy dissipates as heat and is not recycled.

Materials

-1 Sheet of white paper for each student
-Packs of crayons and markers for the entire class to share (or prepack a small Ziploc bag for each student that contains 2-3 markers or crayons)
-A sample food pyramid made by the instructor

Preparations

1. A week prior to this lesson, ask the students to keep a diary of what they eat for one week.
2. Prepare a sample food pyramid to show students; the pyramid should show what the teacher has eaten during a one-week period. (See Procedures, steps #5-8)
3. Gather paper, crayons and markers for students.

Procedures

1. Review the terms producers, primary consumers, and secondary consumers with the class.

2. Explain to the class that they will be constructing a food pyramid based on the foods that they have eaten, they usually eat, or the foods they like to eat during a one-week period.

3. First, they must make a list of the foods and what day they were eaten.

4. Second, they must think about where the ingredients that go into making the food items come from and write them down. For example, if a person listed that they had pepperoni pizza, they would write down that the cheese comes from cows, the pepperoni comes from pigs, the sauce comes from tomatoes, which comes from plants, and the dough is ultimately made from plants.

5. Once students list the ingredients and determine the origins for each food item, they are ready to place the items into a food pyramid. Show the sample food pyramid previously prepared by the instructor.

6. Explain the various levels (producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers) of the pyramid. On the first level of the pyramid, students should list every food item they ate that was a plant or came from a plant (producers).

7. On the second level, they should list all the food items they ate that came from a primary consumer (i.e., cows, pigs, chickens).

8. On the third level, they should place themselves and any secondary consumers they ate.

9. As the various levels of the pyramid are being explained, discuss with the students how energy flows through the environment and that the energy they use on a daily basis comes from other sources. Discuss that some energy dissipates as heat by such actions as chewing, breathing and moving, and that this heat energy is lost and is not recycled.

10. Allow time for students to construct their personal food pyramids.

11. Have students write a reflective essay on their food pyramids explaining where the energy they use to get through the week ultimately comes from. (See Assessments)

Assessments

Ask the students to write a reflective essay on their food pyramids explaining where the energy they use to get through the week ultimately comes from. The essay must show that the student understands that:
-energy flows through the environnment, and that the energy they use on a daily basis has come from other sources;
-energy is lost as heat, by actions such as chewing, breathing, and moving;
-heat energy is lost and is not recycled.
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