Food Chain Fun

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Fifth-graders at TJL recently learned about the wonders of the food chain through hands-on activities and fun simulations in Ms. Rebecca Turano’s class.

Students had the opportunity to create a live simulation of a food web by taking on different producer, consumer and predator roles and tossing a ball of yarn from person to person, creating a complex and interlocking unit. Later in the week, students participated in a lab where groups of students had five seconds as a specific animal—mice, snakes, or hawks—to scurry around and gather food. Afterwards, students recorded and compared their results. To wrap up the unit, students dissected owl pellets to see the first-hand results of the food chain from producer, to consumer, to predator.

“Hands-on simulations help every type of learner,” said Ms. Turano. “It helps students to realize the importance of trial and error and making mistakes and learning from them—especially in science. When students understand that scientists have to get their hands dirty to make discoveries, that what they know didn't just come from reading a book, it motivates them to want to do the same.”