Food Chain Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Bring your instruction on food chains to life for students with a simple yet interactive hands-on classroom activity. Suggestions for supplementary activities to deepen understanding are also included along with recommendations for related lessons.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain what a food chain is
  • Differentiate a food chain from a food web
  • Discuss key factors, processes, and components involved in a food chain
  • Identify trophic levels of a food chain


30 minutes to 1 hour


  • White board or chalk board
  • Dry erase markers or chalk
  • Notebook or plain paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Tablets, computers or projector to access lesson

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

Key Vocabulary

  • food chain
  • primary producer
  • primary consumer
  • secondary consumer
  • photosynthesis
  • trophic levels


  • Begin by asking students to read the introduction, Food Chains and Food Webs, and Sources of Energy sections from the text lesson What is a Food Chain?- Examples, Overview
  • Ask students to stop reading when they reach the Trophic Levels section.
  • Using a white board or chalk board, demonstrate for the class how what they eat is part of a food chain by sketching out the following pattern on the board:

sun>grass>cow>hungry student

  • Explain to students how the food chain transfers energy.
  • Using notebook paper and pens or pencils, have students sketch out a personal food chain based on what they have eaten today.
  • Now have the students read the Trophic Levels section and the Examples of Food Chains sections of the lesson.
  • Using the diagram on the board, ask the students to help you identify the primary producer, primary consumer, the instance of photosynthesis, and the secondary consumer.
  • Now ask students to label the trophic levels of their personal food chains.
  • Upon completion of labeling the trophic levels, students should complete the quiz associated with the lesson.


  • Have students use their pets to create a food chain and label trophic levels accordingly.
  • Have students create food chains and identify trophic levels for an ocean environment, a fresh water environment, a forest, a desert, etc.

Related Lessons:

Food Chains, Trophic Levels, and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems

Need more resources? Science Worksheets let students practice concepts while you check for understanding.

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