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Human Food Chain Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

This lesson will help you learn what a human food chain is. Discover how human food chains work and how nutrients and energy are carried from one living thing to another.

Let's Eat!

In order to get the energy to focus at school, run outside and play your favorite sports, you need to eat food. Eating healthy allows you to get the proper nutrients and energy, but have you ever looked at your food and wondered where these nutrients come from? Let's take a look at how humans get the energy and nutrients that they need through the human food chain.

What Is a Food Chain?

Since all living things need energy in order to grow and survive, there are many different kinds of food chains. A food chain shows how nutrients and energy from food are carried from one living thing to another. In a human food chain, the final consumer is always the human.

There are two different parts to the food chain, the producers who create food such as plants, and the consumers, like animals and humans, who eat the food and use the energy that food gives them.

Producers

Most food chains begin with producers, such as plants, grass and flowers. This is because all plants can produce their own food using water, sunlight, soil and other nutrients through photosynthesis.

Consumers

There are four different kinds of consumers.

  • A herbivore is an animal that eats only plants.
  • A carnivore is an animal that eats other animals.
  • An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and animals.
  • A scavenger is an animal that eats dead animals.

A Basic Human Food Chain

The first consumers that eat the plants are herbivores or omnivores and are considered the primary (1st) consumers. Humans can be primary consumers because many humans are herbivores (vegetarians) or omnivores and eat both plants and animals.

Imagine eating corn…yummy corn! You harvest, prepare and eat it up. You are the primary consumer of the corn. Nutrients and energy are transferred from the corn to your body.

This is a picture of corn on the cob.
corn

The food chain can get longer when more animals come along to eat. The animal that eats the primary consumer is an omnivore or carnivore that is considered the secondary consumer.

The animal that eats the secondary consumer is considered the tertiary (3rd) consumer. There can be fourth and fifth order consumers but the longer the chain, the less nutrients and energy that gets passed on.

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