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Science_Lab_Yellow / Lesson 5: The Food Chain

Food Chain
What will we be learning today?


  • In this lesson, we are going to learn all about what is a food chain.


What Is a Food Chain?


  • How important is a small change in a population? Changes in one population can affect several other populations in the same ecosystem.

  • Every population needs energy in order to survive. Where does that energy come from? The energy in an ecosystem comes from the Sun






  • You can feel the Sun's energy as it warms your skin. A meadow mouse scurrying through a Blacklands cornfield and a red-tailed hawk diving to snare the mouse can feel it, too.

  • Neither of these animals can directly use the Sun's energy. However, they must have it to move, to breathe, to keep their hearts beating, and to stay alive.


  • The energy of the Sun is stored in food. The energy in food is passed from one organism to another in a food chain.

  • A food chain is the path energy takes from producers to consumers to decomposers.


  • On the prairie the first organisms in a food chain are plants. Plants capture the Sun's energy during photosynthesis.

  • This energy is stored in foods, or sugars, the plant makes for itself.


  • What happens when a plant eater such as a grasshopper eats the plant? It takes in the energy-rich sugars. Some of the energy is released for the grasshopper to use. Some of the energy is also stored in its tissues. Some is lost as heat.

  • A Texas horned lizard may snap up the grasshopper, and a red-tailed hawk may eat the lizard. In the prairie community, the hawk is one of the organisms at the top of the food chain. It eats snakes, mice, lizards, rabbits, and other birds.


  • The red-tailed hawk doesn't eat plants. However, because of the food chain, it gets some of the Sun's energy that was originally stored in plants.


  • What happens when plants and animals die? They become food for small organisms like crickets, worms, and ants. They are also a food source for microscopic organisms like bacteria.


  • Let's Review What We Learned Today!


    • Now complete worksheet by using this Presentation