Food Chains Lesson Plan: Using Graphic Organizers

Submitted by: Amber Gross

Grade Levels: 3-5, K-3

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-5, students use BrainPOP Jr. and/or BrainPOP resources to activate prior knowledge and make real-world connections about food chains and food webs. Students define key vocabulary associated with food chains and food webs. They also compare prior knowledge to gained knowledge after viewing the “Food Chain” movie and apply new information using a food chain and web.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Activate prior knowledge and make real-world connections about food chains and food webs.
  2. Define key vocabulary associated with food chains and food webs.
  3. Compare prior knowledge to gained knowledge after viewing the "Food Chain" movie and apply new information using a food chain and web.

Materials:

  • Food Chain: Before, During, and After Thinking Guide (downloadable activity sheet below)
  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard (or just an LCD projector)

Vocabulary:

herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, producer, consumer, predator, prey, food chain, food web

Preparation:

My students and I can't get enough of BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.! I have created activity sheets ("Before, During, and After Thinking Guides") for multiple Brain Pop Jr. Science videos. All of the guides follow this format:

Vocabulary: A list of important vocabulary terms from the videos. I have a high population of Spanish speaking students in my classroom, so I have also included Spanish cognates and translations for each vocabulary word. There is a short cloze-type definition next to the vocabulary word, which students will complete after the word is defined in the video.

The next section is a table with 4 columns. The columns include questions to activate prior knowledge before viewing the video, related illustrations taken from the BrainPOP Jr. video, questions to answer after viewing the video, and challenge questions for applying the new knowledge at a higher level.

At the end of the guide is another activity for students to apply or manipulate the new information. These additional activities also incorporate illustrations taken directly from the BrainPOP Jr. video.

I have also created an answer key to accompany each guide.

To prepare for this lesson, preview the downloadable "Before, During, and After Thinking Guide" below (called "BP Jr. Food Chain") and make a class set of photocopies.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Pass out the anticipation guide to each student. Read through the definitions at the top of the anticipation guide. The words in parentheses are Spanish cognates or translations to assist Spanish speaking students or perhaps add interest for students of other language backgrounds. Draw students' attention to the missing words in each definition. Let them know they should listen for these pieces of key information when they watch the video and complete the definitions when they hear the answers.
  2. Give students a few minutes to predict words they think will correctly complete the definitions. Write these words on the board. After viewing the movie, students can check the accuracy of their predictions.
  3. Together, look over the first two columns of the table. The first column is titled "Before Video". This question is designed to activate the students' prior knowledge and assist them in narrowing their focus as they watch the video. The second column is a related illustration, taken directly from the video. This illustration serves to provide a visual for the question and also trigger memory and when the student refers back to the guide as review for summative assessments.
  4. Students should answer the questions in the first column as best they can. Assure them that this column will not be graded; it is simply to get them thinking! They should check these answers as they view the movie.
  5. After they have answered the "Before Video" questions, play the BrainPOP Jr. Food Chain movie. Students should complete the vocabulary definitions as they watch the movie.
  6. When the movie has ended, allow the students time to complete the third column of the table, titled "After Video". Have the students discuss how and why their answers changed from the "Before Video" column to "After Video" column. Have the students share their completed vocabulary definitions and compare the correct answers with their predictions. Were they correct?
  7. Give students time to complete the fourth column of the table, titled "Challenge," and also to apply their new knowledge to the food chain and food web at the bottom of the page.

Extension Activity:

Explore the BrainPOP Food Chains movie and related resources to extend students' understanding or to differentiate for learning for more advanced students.

Downloadable Resources:

BP Jr Food Chain.doc


BrainPOP Movies:

Food Chains (Activity Page Answer Key)


BrainPOP Jr Movies:

Food Chain