You guys know I’m a big fan of finding great science lesson resources, and about a month ago I found a fun book the kids have been taking turns reading (though mostly Batman, because he’s my science kid currently). “Air Is Not Oxygen: Essential Science You Should Have Learned … But Probably Didn’t!”* has all sorts of cool activities, in this case, we’re going to talk about a food web activity the kids and I did after reading one of the chapters (hey, we’re studying biology, so it makes sense).
(*This post is sponsored by Air is Not Oxygen, and the links to it are amazon affiliate links)
A Quick look at Air is Not Oxygen
Before I handed Air is Not Oxygen to the kids I was flipping through it, and it’s just like my favorite science books as a kid, there’s a sense of humor and it’s short fun lessons about different topics. Exactly the type of book I checked out from the library over and over again. I also had to laugh at the dedication:
Air is Not Oxygen is divided into subcategories by major science areas
You’ve got all the major topics you’ll cover before high school, and I could see this making a fun homeschool co-op science class as you cover a different chapter each week and complete the extension activities. Since we’re studying biology I skipped ahead to that section and had fun reading through their food web section.
Food web activity supplies
Food Web activity
We read the chapter about food webs, and learned animals are all connected together by the food they eat.
First, there are plants, which are producers. That means they make their own food. I grabbed a piece of fabric to represents the plants. Then we found the first animal that eats plants and put a string from the animal to the grass.
Next we found another animal in the food chain, and attached it to the correct level, this one could eat the first animal.
Slowly we added more and more animals to our food web, and as we did we noticed a few things.
- food webs are complex, very quickly we had yarn going back and forth between all sorts of animals and levels
- taking out one animal does not destroy a food web necessarily
- taking out more than one animal can destroy a food web as resources become less available
- taking out several animals also can change how many of the lower level animals you have. We see this in Texas as most of the predators for deer are driven out, but the deer aren’t, and the deer multiply like crazy (that can’t be easily shown with this food web though)
It really was amazing how complex the food web grew, as I attempted to put away the pictures and the animals, I had yarn and animals everywhere.
Specific examples of changes to the ecosystem and why the food web is so important
- Why wolves reintroduction to Yellowstone Park won’t save the ecosystem (in all honesty, this is a bit of a doom and gloom article, but has good points)
- Wolves introduction changes the ecosystem
I’m not entirely sure exactly how these two are different. But either way, I like both of these videos, and they’ve got lots of pretty wolves.
Get your own copy of Air is Not Oxygen
Air Is Not Oxygen is available on Amazon.