Out Teach
Life Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Primary
  • Animals
  • Ecosystems
  • Energy and Matter
  • Food Chains
  • Food Webs
  • Ifthen
  • Life Sciences
  • Out Teach
  • Plants
  • Predator
  • Science
  • Texas
  • texas
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    Education Standards

    Food Webs -- Out Teach

    Food Webs -- Out Teach


    Students will observe organisms in their ecosystem and describe the flow of energy in food webs

    Background for Teachers

    Out Teach logo

    Students should know what living things are and what they need to survive from the study of organisms and environments in grades 1st – 4th. At this point in 5th grade students should be able to describe ecosystems and how energy flows through food chains and food webs. In 3rd and 4th grade students also predict the environmental changes in food webs.

    Key Vocabulary

    • Producers

    • Consumers

    • Decomposers

    • Energy

    • Ecosystems

    • Food chain

    • Food web

    • Predator

    Guiding Questions

    • What role would a broccoli play in a schoolyard habitat?

    • Which organisms obtain energy from producers and which organisms from consumers?


    Give student pairs an organism card and have them take into the outdoor classroom and place it where that organism might have its needs met.

    Have students discuss how their organism interacts with living and nonliving elements.

    Have students come back to gathering space.

    Choose three pairs to share out.


    Students will work for 15-20 minutes to record what organisms they see.

    Consider making a chart with the following

    • Organism

    • Shelter

    • Food Source

    • Predator

    Management Note: Ensure students understand the boundaries of the area they are exploring, review expectations and make sure they listen for the signal to return to the gathering space.

    Ask: Does this organism make food or take food?

    Ask: How would you compare its adaptations for this?

    Ask: Does this organism compete for food with other organisms?

    Ask: Does this organism have any predators?

    Differentiation Note: If students that need additional support consider giving them a couple examples ahead of time.

    For students who need an additional challenge have them create small food chains with their organisms.


    Have students return to the gathering space and turn and talk about findings

    Ask: Where do plants get their energy from?

    Teacher draws a sun on the white board.

    Have students explain in their own words the roles (producer, consumer or decomposer) of the organisms on their chart.

    Based on the information in their chart have student pairs draw a simple food chain starting with the sun that shows the flow of energy.


    Have students go out into the outdoor classroom and select an organism card they can wear – paperclips work well for this purpose

    Have students come back to the shelter and get in a large circle.

    Now use a ball of yarn to start a "food web" - Teacher holds up the ball of yarn and tells students that the ball of yarn represents the energy from the sun.

    Give the ball of yarn to a student who chose a producer that would get their energy from the sun. Then have another student who obtains energy from that producer take the ball of yarn. Have students continue in this manner, passing the yarn from organism to organism showing the flow of energy through the school yard habitat.

    Remind students that food webs are overlapping food chains so one organism might give energy to more than one organism.


    A student in Mr. Wren's class said that decomposers turn food chains into food webs.

    Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

    Explain your stance, with evidence that supports your claim.

    Extensions and Connections

    Consider a trip to a wetland area to complete a comparative investigation.


    Comparative study Investigation Cards

    Career Connections

    The IF/THEN collection is the world’s largest free digital library of authentic and relatable images and videos of women STEM innovators.  


    Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant is a large carnivore ecologist that studies animals such as grizzly bears, black bears, lions, gorrillas, and chimpanzees. Her interest in wildlife and conservation was sparked by television shows she watched as a child. 


    Have your students watch this video for inspiration about pursuing STEM careers, and read this profile to learn more about Dr. Wynn-Grant's story.


    Thank you for creating a culture shift in how the world perceives women in STEM.