Food chains teaching resources
Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about food chains and bioaccumulation (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Where to start?
Before we get stuck into food chains and food webs, it’s important that students have time to explore habitats and organisms first. Videos or setting homework to explore the animals of the Serengeti work well.
Building and understanding food chains and webs
GCSE activity and worksheet to help students understand food chains. Students work in groups to think deeply about a series of questions. For example, why don’t humans eat grass? Why are big, fierce creatures rarer than small cuddly ones? It allows students to develop a better understanding of how biomass flows through a food chain. Alternatively, use these questions as homework. (PDF)
GCSE worksheet on biomass transfer in food chains. This is a hard activity that gets students to think deeply about the transfer of biomass between trophic levels. We casually say when teaching food chains that only 10 % of the biomass from each trophic level is transferred to the level above. What we should say is that only 10% of the biomass from each trophic level is transferred into the biomass of the trophic level above; otherwise, we risk introducing a misconception. (PDF)
Bioaccumulation of plastics in food chains provides an excellent context to introduce bioaccumulation but also illustrates how humans impact ecosystems. The video below explores microplastics in oceans.
- If biomass is lost through a food chain, why are secondary consumers generally bigger than primary consumers?
- Why can a vegetarian diet support more people per tonne of producer?
- Does a food chain have to start with a living organism?