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Food Web Activities for High School Biology

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

After discussing food webs with your high school biology students, use these activities to help reinforce and expand on information covered in class. There are opportunities for both group and individual work.

Food Webs

In high school biology curricula, students often learn about the role of food webs in every biome in the world. Food webs help students see how interconnected the world is and the role of each organism in an environment. Use these activities to help your students think critically about food webs and take their learning to the next level. Use one or all of these activities in your class. The first two activities involve group work and the final activity is to be completed individually.

Consequences of Changing a Food Web

Biologists and environmentalists are continuously discovering the consequences of removing one species (through extinction, extermination or forceful removal) on an entire food web and ecosystem. For this activity, students will examine a food web and consider what short and long-term consequences would follow if one member of the web were removed.

Begin by putting students into small groups of about five. Give each student in the class the same food web. Next, tell each group which organism will be eliminated from their food web. This should vary from group to group.

Individually, students should brainstorm and write down the effects of this change. After creating a list, the group should come together and discuss the impacts of the removal. Together, the group can write down the changes to the ecosystem (large, small, short-term and long-term) on a piece of chart paper.

Once the groups have finished, come together as a class and discuss changes. The following questions can guide your discussion:

  • What were some of the short-term changes to the ecosystem based on removing one member?
  • What were some of the long-term changes to the ecosystem based on removing one member?
  • Did removing one particular organism have a larger impact than other organisms? Why was this?
  • Did this activity influence your opinion on removing ''annoying'' (bugs, pests, invasive species, etc.) members from the ecosystem? How?
  • How did this activity expand your understanding of food webs?
  • Materials Needed: Class set of food webs, chart paper.

Food Webs in Different Biomes (Stations)

For this activity, students will work in group to puzzle together the main food webs in different world biomes. Begin by breaking students into groups of about three. Each group will begin with a different biome. The group should receive a piece of paper with the name of the biome on it. Laminate these papers so that students can write/draw on it with dry erase marker. Students should also receive the different organisms within the biome and tape. Students will lay out the different species and draw arrows that connect and form the food web.

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