Lesson (2x): Energy Flow Through Food Webs

Prior knowledge: types of energy & matter, symbiotic relationships, levels of organization (individual -> ecosystem)


  • review practice for terms & concepts

  • role cards & setup instructions

  • kinesthetic activities (card sort, role playing simulation)

  • graphing tasks (prior class data included)

  • discussion using videos to inspire & extend



1. Do Now

a) flow chart of morning routine (intro) (skip to #2.)

b) photosynthesis from space & food in body (skip to #5.)

I. Matter, Energy, Symbiotic Relationships

2. Terminology Check

a) Symbiotic Relationship Examples

b) Card Sort: Symbiosis

3. Energy

a) Card Sorts: Types of Energy

b) Venn Diagram: Energy vs. Matter

+ optional HW: Reporting Climate Change

4. Discuss & Elaborate on how to obtain energy

a) Video: Coral - Predator? Producer? Both?

b) Video: Farallones Islands & complex relationships

II. Food Web, Trophic Levels, Energy Transfer

5. Activity: Ocean Food Web

a) Game, Graph, Analyze, Discuss

b) Define trophic level roles (HW)

6. Videos for Discussion

a) Why are detritovores important for the food web? (Explain)

b) Kelp Ecosystem (Extend)

c) Coral Reef Symbiosis (Extend)

d) Ecosystems & Ecological Communities (Explain)

e) How does climate change affect biodiversity (Extend)

f) Food Chains vs. Food Webs (Explain)

6. What’s missing in the trophic pyramid?

7. Exit Ticket

a) energy sources & transfer

b) How is the Internet like a food web?

Lab: Exploratorium's Ocean Acidification In A Cup

Time: 60 min

Goal: Model an ocean-atmosphere interaction and explain how carbon dioxide gas diffuses into water, causing the water to become more acidic.


  • Lab worksheet (instructions, questions, etc.)

  • Slides for Exploratorium’s Ocean Acidification In A Cup

  • Videos with timers, safety review, and lab procedure demo, applications to coral bleaching, etc.

Note to self: (To Do) add inquiry-driven portion for students to devise questions together (requires more chemistry than mere carbon cycling stations activity)