BEFORE YOU VISIT THE GARDEN…
Lesson Ideas for Grade 4
Students will understand the roles of plants and animals in the
Students will be able to describe the living and nonliving components
of an ecosystem necessary for survival.
Food web cards—remove non-living components for this part
(soil, air, rain, etc.) but keep 'sun' card.
- Explain to students that the interconnectedness between animals
(demonstrated in activity #1) is sometimes called a “food
web,” and that animals depend on one another for survival.
- Have students sit or stand in a close circle
on the floor or playground.
- Distribute an ecosystem card to each student
(It’s OK to have doubles of cards for large groups), retaining
the sun card for the teacher. Explain that for this activity, they
will represent the animal, plant or other item on their card.
- Show the class your sun card. Ask students
to raise their hand if they have something that depends on the sun
for survival on their card (all plants should raise their hand).
Holding one end of the ball of yarn, pass the ball to one of these
students, directing them to gently hook the yarn in their index
finger without pulling (You might have them wrap the yarn around
their finger one time.) Have this student share his or her card,
and explain why they (the plant) depends on the sun (e.g. the sunlight
helps the plant make it’s food).
- Next, ask students who has a card representing
something that depends on the plant, OR something that that the
plant might depend on. The student holding the plant card can choose
who will receive the yarn. The new student takes hold of the yarn,
shows their card, and then explains the connection they have with
the previous item (in this case, a plant).
- Continue asking students to identify connections,
have students pass the yarn to students (cards) that they depends
on, OR students (cards) that depend on them. Continue the process
until all students are holding on to a part of the yarn. Note that
students may hold the yarn more than once, but all must hold it
AT LEAST once. By the time every student has shown his or her card
there should be a literal “web” of yarn inside the circle.
- Explain to students how all living things
on earth are connected, and depend on one another for survival.
This activity shows how complicated the connections can be—these
different connects are often referred to as a FOOD WEB. Direct all
students with plant cards to gently tug on their strands of yarn.
Ask students if they felt the pull. Again, remind students that
even carnivorous animals depend on plants for survival.
- If time permits, ask what would happen
if someone removed a part of the food web. You can demonstrate this
by asking one of the students to drop their yarn and back away from
the circle. It’s best to start with something small, or a
plant. Instruct students that if they now have a loose end, they
may not be able to survive. Tell lthem to drop their yarn, and back
away. Eventually, the entire web will collapse.