In this lesson plan, students will learn to understand the difference between predator and prey. This can either be a follow-up lesson to my previous lesson plan on the food chain or it can be used on its own. Either way, this lesson will instruct the children on predators and their prey.
The italicized section should be read aloud to the student/s. Afterward, allow a question and answer period.
A predator is an animal that hunts other animals for its food. The prey is the animal that the predator eats. For example, hawks hunt and eat snakes, so hawks are the predators of snakes and the snakes are the prey. An animal food chain is made up of predators and prey. Here is a short story about predators and prey.
The quiet mouse munches on some crumbs a human has left in the grass, when a snake swiftly catches him with one lick of its powerful tongue. The snake slithers away to hide in the tall grass. A hawk swoops down from the sky overhead and easily captures the snake and flies off to the nearest high point, which happens to be a mountain top. A sly fox is napping nearby and when he awakes, he is hungry. He senses the hawk's presence and captures him in no time. However, a leopard, high in a tree, quickly discovers the fox and pounces down on him.
As you can see from the paragraph above, predators can also be prey, depending on the situation.
This is where you start the question and answer period. Once each student has had a chance to list a predator and prey, have the students complete the art project below.
Predator VS. Prey - Art Project
You will need one per student of each of the following: pencil, colored pencils, 12x7 sheet of white construction paper
Once each student has their materials, instruct them to draw a predator vs. prey food chain. The food chain should include at least 5 animals. The animals should be drawn in order and have connecting lines or be numbered. The children should write each animal's name below it, so that there is no mistake of what the animal drawings represent. The children should color their animals as well. Each animal should be labeled as predator or prey. Some animals should be labeled as both. Be sure to explain that to the students. Once the children are finished, their projects should be checked and graded for accuracy. Afterwards, the projects can go on display.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
The food chain of the animal kingdom is an important lesson that all elementary level students should learn about. Below is a two day lesson plan involving the food chain. The first day outlines for the students exactly what the food chain is, even naming typical animals that work together to form the chain. It will invoke thought in the students, causing them to think about which animals might be where in the food chain. This makes the lesson much more effective in staying in the children's minds. The second day involves an art lesson that collaborates with it.
For this lesson, read the below italicized paragraphs to the students.
The animal kingdom is made up of many different animals. In a way they all need to work together in order to survive. Each animal needs another animal or plant for survival. It starts from the smallest of animals and continues on, all the way up to the largest.
This togetherness is called the food chain. The smallest animals in the chain will be the ones that do not eat other animals, but eat plants and fruits , vegetables, and seeds that come from plants instead. These are called herbivores. The rest of the animals in the chain are called either carnivores or omnivores. Carnivores eat only meat, which, of course, is other animals. Omnivores eat from both food groups, so that means they eat what both carnivores and herbivores eat. Humans are omnivores.
A typical food chain starts from a small animal, such as a mouse or squirrel. That animal eats only things that grow. The next animal can be either an omnivore or carnivore. A snake is a carnivore. That snake will eat the herbivore, continuing the chain. Next, a hawk, who is a carnivore, could swoop down and eat that snake, making the chain continue. Then, if a fox, who is also a carnivore, eats that hawk, the chain has kept going. A clouded leopard could then eat the fox, which, again, continues the cycle. As you can see, the cycle will keep going. This is what makes it a food chain.
Once the above scenario has been read to the children, draw a diagram on an overhead or chalkboard to show the students what a food chain is. Instead of listing the actual animals, each circle should stay blank. The circles should connect in order. Next, show the children on the diagram how each animal needs the other, which creates a chain, by creating a chain of your own. Then, erase your animals from the circles. Ask them to suggest animals for each section of the food chain and discuss why or why not certain animals belong in certain parts of the chain you create together. Repeat making the chain a few times. Ask the children to think about the food chain once school is over and discuss it with a friend or family member. If you homeschool, ask the child to discuss the food chain with a friend or a family member who is not schooling with him or her.
For the second day of instruction, students will need to create a food chain of their own. Each student will need one 12x7 sheet of construction paper, a glue stick, a pencil, and crayons or washable markers. They should use all of these materials, with the sheet of paper as a base. Students should label the animals as "herbivore", "carnivore", or "omnivore", with numbers and arrows symbolizing which ones come next. This art should be a combination of drawing, writing, and pictures cut and glued from magazines. Let the students create the scene as they please, so long as everything is labeled correctly.
This activity is not only fun for the children, but it further ensures that the lesson will stay in their brain and it also gives them a hands-on association to base the lesson from.
Once both days are completed, students should have a very good understanding of the concept of a food chain and how it works.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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