Food Web Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Tammie Mihet

Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology

Did you know that all living things are linked together by the food we eat? In this lesson learn how we can make a visual representation, called a food web, to show the flow of energy between different species within a community.

How We Get Energy

Have you thought about what you eat? I mean really thought about what you eat and where it comes from? How about why you eat? Some of us would say we eat because food tastes good, but the real reason we eat is so we can get energy to survive. Without energy, all the systems inside your body would stop! The food you eat, whether it is meat or plant based, used to be alive and growing, storing up its own energy to survive. When you eat the stored energy inside that meat or plant, the energy passes into your body! We use food chains and food webs , which are just several food chains pieced together, to represent these energy exchanges! Therefore, to truly understand food webs we must first review the members of a food web and look at examples of food chains.

Who Eats What

Did you know that the source of all energy is the sun? Yes, that is right! Without the sun, all plants would die and everything that eats plants would also die. The sun is the source of all energy on earth and plants use the sun's energy to make their own energy. We call plants producers because they make the energy for all other living things on earth. Can you think of any animals that eat only plants? How about rabbits! Rabbits and all other animals that eat only plants are called herbivores. Can you think of something that eats a rabbit? Wolves eat rabbits and any other meat they can find! Wolves and all other animals that eat only meat are called carnivores. Have you ever eaten rabbit? I haven't tried it myself but many people say it is delicious! Humans are neither carnivores nor herbivores because we eat both plants and animals. Therefore, we are called omnivores.

Food Chain

We can use a food chain to make a visual picture of energy passing from one living thing to another. Food chains show the energy links between living things! A food chain always starts with a producer, followed by an herbivore or omnivore, and finally a carnivore or omnivore. For example, berries from a berry bush (a producer) are eaten by a deer, and the deer (herbivore) is eaten by a jaguar (a carnivore). This would be an example of a food chain because it shows one example of energy passing from one living thing to another.

Food Chain
Food Chain

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