Ocean Food Web Activities & Games

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

The ocean is a vast, diverse environment filled with life. Use these activities and games to help students understand the intricate food web of the ocean and its importance in sustaining life.

Connecting the Pieces

Most students never think about how the crab cake on their plate is part of a larger food web that includes whales, plankton, and even seaweed. When students explore the ocean biome, they can understand the interaction between organisms within the environment. Students can examine how energy is transferred through the food web and what happens when organisms inside the food web are threatened or removed.

Let's look at some activities and games to help students explore the ocean food web.

String Web

Materials

  • Diagram of an ocean food web
  • Index cards with an ocean organism written on each
  • Pencils
  • Access to printed or online resources
  • String
  • Scissors

Teacher Directions

  1. Prior to the activity, label index cards with an ocean organism written on each. Additionally, cut long pieces of string to create the web part of the food web.
  2. Show the students a diagram of an ocean food web. Explain how the food web shows the transfer of energy between ocean organisms.
  3. Give each student one of the ocean organisms index cards and a pencil.
  4. Have the students research what the organism on their index cards eats. They can write the information they find directly onto the index card.
  5. Have the class stand in a circle with their index cards.
  6. Begin with one student. Have them hold one end of a piece of string and give the other end to a person holding the index card of an animal that the organism on their card eats. Have the student continue to add strings to demonstrate the variety of organism their organism eats.
  7. Continue the same process with each student in the circle.
  8. When the food web is completed, have the students examine the web that was created.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your reaction to seeing the completed food web? What does this show about the complexity of the ocean biome?
  • What do you think would happen if one of the organisms in our food web became extinct?

Food Web Diner

Materials

  • Large diagram of an ocean food web
  • Copies of the diagram of an ocean food web
  • Paper plates
  • Bells
  • Sets of pictures of the ocean organisms in the food web diagram

Teacher Directions

  1. Show the class a diagram of an ocean food web, then discuss what it represents and how to read it.
  2. Divide the class into teams.
  3. Give each team a copy of the ocean food web diagram, a set of ocean organism pictures, and a paper plate.
  4. Tell the students that they will pretend to be waiters/waitresses at the Ocean Food Web Diner.
  5. For each round of the game, you will name a specific organism in the food web. When you say 'go', one member of each team will find the organism on the food web diagram, place the pictures of what the organism eats on their team's paper plate, ring the bell, and yell, ''Order up!''
  6. The first team to correctly plate their meal for the organism receives five points.
  7. Continue the same process for each round.
  8. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

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