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FoodChainLesson

YourName:LeahBaker
TitleofLesson:FoodChainatYellowstoneNationalPark(SystemsThinking)
Grade:6thGradeScience
STANDARDS
PO2.Describehowthefollowingenvironmentalconditionsaffectthequalityoflife:populationdensity.
PO4.Formulatequestionsthatcanbeansweredbyhistoricalstudyandresearch.
PO1.Constructmaps,charts,andgraphstodisplaygeographicinformation.
LESSONSUMMARY/OVERVIEW
Thislessonwillanswerthequestionwhyiseveryspeciesnecessarytotheworld?Intheperviousday,the
studentslearnedaboutthereintroductionofwolvestoYellowstoneNationalParkandthefactorsthathelpedthe
wolfpopulationgrow.Forthislesson,thestudentswillexplorebydoingafoodchainactivityandseewhythewolf
populationwasnecessarytotheYellowstonefoodchain/ecosystem.Thisactivitywillrelatetosustainability
becauseitwillactasaformofbackgroundknowledgewhenwebegintolookattheeffectsofthecontinuously
risinghumanpopulationandwhentheylookatapopulationasasystem.Studentswillbeabletorelatethe
problemsthatYellowstonehasseenwithanabsentandoverpopulatedwolfpopulationtotheproblemsthatthe
entireworldwillseewithanoverpopulatedhumanpopulation.Youngstudentsneedthistypeofbackground
knowledgetobegintotryandunderstandtheeffectsapopulationcanhaveontheworld.Studentswillbeableto
understandthesimplifiedecosystemofacontainedarea,whichinthislessonwillbeYellowstone.Theywillneed
thisscaffoldingtohelpthembegintounderstandthehumanpopulationeffectsontheentireworld.
OBJECTIVES
StudentswillbeabletoexplainthedifferentpopulationoutcomesinYellowstoneNationalParkbyparticipatingina
foodchainactivity.
ASSESSMENT/EVALUATION
Afterthefoodchainactivityandexplanation,thestudentswillcreateafoodchainfoldabletheshowwhattheyhave
learnedandtokeepasareferencefortherestofthepopulationunit.Teacherwillassessthestudentsunderstanding
ofthefoodchainactivitybythefoldabletheycreated.
PREREQUISITEKNOWLEDGE
Studentswillbeableto:
Recalleventsthathelpapopulationgrow
Recallfactorsthatmakesapopulationdecline
Explainwhatcertainanimalseat.(EX:Wolveseatmeat)

Explainsystemsthinking
MATERIALS
Evencardsthatarelabeled,Grass,Moose,Wolf.
Paper,glue,andscissorstomakefoldable.
VOCABULARY/KEYWORDS
VocabularyWords:
Population
Growth
EnvironmentalFactors
FoodChain

SystemsThinking
TEACHINGPROCEDURES
Thegamenotonlyexplainsthebasicfunctionsofafoodchain,butalsoexplorestheeffectsofoverandunder
populationsoforganisms.Thisgamecanbeplayedeitherindoorsoroutdoorswithabroadageofstudents.
Differentfactorscanbeaddedtoshowallthewaysapopulationcangrowordecline.

Beginning:
Thelessonwillstartwithareviewwhatwascoveredthedaybeforeandhowthewolveswereabletogrow
inpopulation.Wewillthencoverthebackgroundknowledgethattheywillneedtocompletethefoodchainactivity.
Studentswillneedtoknowandlistsomeofthefactorsthathelpapopulationgrowanddeclinesuchasfood,
weather,hunting,etc.Whilewearecompletingouractivity,Iwantyoutotrytothinkabouthowthisactivity
representsasystem.
During:
Forthisactivity,thestudentswillfirstbeseparatedintothreeevengroups.Eachmemberinagroupwillbe
givenoneofthefollowingcardsMoose,Wolf,orGrass.Therefore,therewillbeanevennumberofwolves,
moose,andgrassinourpopulation.Thestudentswillessentiallybeplayingagameoftagbuttheymayonlytag
specificpeople.Awolfcantagamoose.Amoosecantagthegrass,andthegrasscantagthewolf.Onceastudentis
tagged,theywillturnintowhatevertaggedthem.Forexample,ifawolftagsamoose,thenthemoosewillturninto
awolf.Thestudentswillplayaroundforabout5minutesandwillthenreturnbacktotheirdesksowemaydiscuss
whathappenedintheactivity.
Thisactivitycanbemanipulatedtoshowseveralofresultsforthestudents.Butforthepurposeofthislessonand
objective,wewillonlyplayoneround.
After:
Afterthefoodchainactivitytheclasswillcomebacktogetheranddiscusswhattheysaw.Askthestudents
thefollowingquestions.
Whathappenedduringourfoodchainactivity?
o Everyonewasabletorotatethoughthecardsoreveryonewasabletobeallthreecards.
Whywaseveryoneabletorotatethroughthecards?
o Theactivitywasaconstantmovement;nooneevergotoutorhadtositout.
Whatwouldhappenifthereweremorewolvesthangrassandmoose?
o Ifthereweremorewolvesthenmooseandgrasstheneventuallyallthemoosewillbegoneand
onceallthemoosearegonethenthewolveswillbegoneandonlygrasswillbeleft.
Whatwouldhappeniftherewerenowolvesatall?
o Thenthemoosewouldeatallthegrassandthentherewouldbenomoregrassandonlymoose.
Eventuallythemoosewilldiebecausethereisnofood.
Whydoyouthinkthegrasscantagthewolf?
o Thegrasscantagthewolfbecausethatrepresentsthewolfdyingofage,disease,orstarvation.
Rememberwhenwetalkedabouttheideaofasystemandsystemthinking?Howdoesthefoodchain
representasystem?
o Thefoodchainrepresentsasystembecauseeverycomponentoranimalisneededtokeepthe
chaininmovement.Whenonefactorislargerorsmallerthannormal,theneverycomponentof
thesystem(foodchain)isaffectinonewayoranother.
Watchthevideo,HowWolvesHaveChangedYellowstone'sRivers,andthenanswerthelastquestion.
SowhydidthewolvesneedtobereintroducedintotheYellowstoneecosystem?
o ThewolvesneededtobereintroducedintoYellowstonebecausetherewasnofactorthatwas
controllingthemoosepopulation,whichwascausingecologicalaffectsonthepark.
Assessment:
Studentswillcreateafoodchainfoldablethatwilldemonstratetheirunderstandingofthefoodchainand
willbeusedtoassessthestudentsontheirunderstandingofthetopic.Thestudentswillcreatea4tabfoldablethat
willincorporatethethreefactorsthatweusedintheclassroomactivityandtheywillincorporateonemorefactor
intothefoldablethattheylearnfromthevideo,HowWolvesHaveChangedYellowstone'sRivers.Foldableshould
beinorderofhowthefoodchainworks.
RESOURCES
FoodChainGame.(n.d.).OutdoorBiologyInstructionalStrategies.Retrieved2015,from
http://www.outdoorbiology.com/files/resources/activities/FoodChainGame.pdf
HowWolvesHaveChangedYellowstone'sRiversGoodNewsNetwork.(2014,March2).RetrievedOctober31,
2015.

WAYSOFTHINKINGCONNECTION
SystemsThinking:Foryourconvince,anywheresystemsthinkingisusedinthislessoninisunderlinedinthis
boldedredtext.
Thislessonwillemphasizesystemsthinkingtothestudentsinregardstosustainability.SystemsThinkingmeans
understandinghowthepartsofasystemworktogetherandthedifferentcomponentsofasystem.Thiswayof
thinkingisnecessaryforourstudentssothatsomedaytheymaybeabletorecognizeaprobleminasystemandfind
asolution.Thefoodchainisaperfectrepresentationofasystemandhoweverycomponentaffectsanother.This
lessondirectlyasksthestudentstoexplainhowthefoodchainislikeasystem.Intheotherdaysoftheunit,the
studentswillthegiventheopportunitytomakeconnectionsfromtheYellowstonesystemtothehumanpopulation
asasystem.