Students learn about food chains by acting out a story about animals on the hunt for food.
Before you begin this activity, make the following name tag necklaces using index cards, yarn and markers: sun, plant, mouse, hawk, energy.
Review the More About... story. For younger students, a discussion of food chains is sufficient. Discuss the fact that plants are the first link in all food chains. Explain that plants make food using the sun's energy. And when a plant is eaten by an animal, the plant helps the animal make energy. When that animal is eaten by another animal, it passes energy on once again. In this way, energy passes through a food chain. Next, read the following story out loud.
It is a warm summer day. The sun shines on a field of grass. Each blade of grass soaks up the sun's light. Soaking up sunlight helps grass make energy to live and grow. A mouse runs through the grass. It stops to eat. Eating the grass helps the mouse make energy to live and grow. A shadow flies over the mouse. It is a hungry hawk. The hawk lands on the mouse. It eats the mouse. Eating the mouse helps the hawk make energy to live and grow.
Discuss the story with students to be sure they understand how each link in the chain forms. Start with the sun. Next, tell students you would like them to help you act out the story as you read it again. Choose students to role play the sun, the plant, the mouse and the hawk. Also choose a student to role play energy that passes through the food chain. Give each student the proper name tag to wear.
Explain to your actors that, as you read the story, the energy should pass from one link to the next in the food chain at each point of action. Have your energy actor stand with the sun. When you reach the point in the story where the plant takes in sunlight, the sun should "pass" the energy to the plant. Encourage children to act out their characters' actions, too.
Give other students a chance to act out the story. You might create a variation by having one of the links "disappear" or changing a character.
Ask students to help you make up a story about the food chain shown in
the More About... story (food chain: water lily, snail, crawfish, frog,
snake). Students can then act it out.