Plants and Animals Lesson Plan: The Food Chain Game

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades K-8, students use BrainPOP Jr. and/or BrainPOP resources to identify the roles that plants and animals play in various food chains during interactive game play. Students define vocabulary terms such as decomposer and producer and use those terms in class discussions and activities.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify the roles that plants and animals play in various food chains during interactive game play
  2. Define vocabulary terms such as decomposer and producer and use those terms in class discussions and activities

Materials:

  • Interactive whiteboard (or just an LCD projector)
  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Computers for pairs of students to use
  • Photocopies of any printable worksheets you choose to utilize

Vocabulary:

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

Preparation:

Preview the BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. movies/features mentioned in the lesson plan below and determine which are most developmentally appropriate for your students. Try out the Food Chain game yourself and plan discussion points and ways to incorporate game play into your unit of instruction. You might also want to explore the Sheppard Software Food Chain page to learn more about the game and view additional resources from its developer.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. (Optional first step for students in grades K-3): Project the BrainPOP Jr. Talk About It feature for the class to see and build background knowledge about food chains. Type students' responses directly into the graphic organizer.
  2. Project the Sequence Order Game for students to see. Talk about the correct order of events in the food chain shown and have student volunteers sequence the cards. You may want to use the Word Wall or the Vocabulary page during the discussion to display and define key terms.
  3. Pair students up and give them about 5 minutes to explore the Food Chain game together. Ask students to stop after they finish completing the fifth food chain.
  4. Bring the class back to a whole-group discussion. How did the mushrooms fit into the fifth food chain--was anyone surprised that they were not first or second? Project the Bigger Food Chains page on the Sheppard Software site and introduce the term decomposers.
  5. Show students the other terms listed on the lefthand side of the screen, and discuss them as a class. Click on each term to reveal an image that you can use as a talking point as students construct definitions.
  6. Allow students to finish playing the game in pairs. When they are done, they can watch the BrainPOP Food Chains Movie or the BrainPOP Jr. Food Chain Movie and take the accompanying quiz.
  7. For an assessment, have younger students complete the Food Web Activity. Older or more advanced students can complete the Graphic Organizer.

Extension Activity:

Have students explore the Producers and Consumers Game to learn more about these roles in the food chain. Challenge students to construct a model of their own food chain using paper and pencil, digital tools, or three dimensional objects. Encourage students to label the role of each plant and animal. Students may want to mix up the order of their food chain and have their classmates try to reconstruct it. Be sure to check out our other science games in GameUp!