Back when I was a Biology teacher one of my favourite lessons was to teach food chains, it gave us a really great opportunity to look at how the different animals in an environment work together and interact. I find it interesting that throughout the UK curriculum from year 2 food chains is a topic that appears regularly. With this week’s theme for early elementary bloggers being Polar Animals and following on from the sharing activity we did yesterday with my youngest it seemed an ideal time to introduce food chains and look at the polar bear food chain.
- Can explain a simple food chain.
- Can name some different sources of food for animals.
- Can use food chains to identify producers, predators and prey. *This is from Key Stage 2 but we will be introducing the words now
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Polar Bear Food Chain
Start off by explaining that you are going to investigate what Polar Bears eat and where their energy comes from. Explain that you can discover it by producing a food chain to show what they eat, what eats their prey and right at the start what the producer of the energy is.
Polar Bears are a great example of a simple food chain that early elementary children can investigate they are charismatic creatures and often featured on nature programmes that they may watch or in books. So start off with what they know about what they eat.
Our first was that they were carnivores because they had big teeth so they ate meat – what sort of meat seals was the easy part of my oldest, he’s fascinated by nature programmes and was even able to name a couple of species of seal that he knew polar bears ate – Weddle seals and harp seals.
From there is became a little tricky – what did arctic seals eat? Over to the internet.
I took this as an opportunity to steer him towards sites that will give information to him rather than images – he started off by going to google – and putting in what do seals eat and then clicking on images as a quick way to find out what they did eat. I moved away from the image tab to ALL and pointed him to the Wikipedia entry as a good source (for the elementary level it’s good as the information is easy to find and it’s reasonably accurate).
We then looked for what they ate coming up with Arctic Char – which led us to finding out what Arctic Char ate and zooplankton which he hadn’t heard of before – so this time we used the image tab to discover what they looked like. It’s a good skill to teach children how to search on google effectively and when to use and not use the different tabs as well as filter out what sort of information is relevant.
With our food chain from polar bear to plankton complete, we then sat and wrote some sentences – he decided that today would be a list format instead of full sentences which worked for this as recording his findings.
Using the image sheet provided in the download we then cut out the animals and stuck them onto a display sheet to share our findings with arrows pointing toward who ate who.
Polar Resources to Extend the Learning
More Polar Animal Themed Early Elementary Activities
Penguin Addition to 100 with Hundreds Chart from Life Over C’s
Polar Animals Facts Game from In the Playroom
How Do Penguins Stay Dry? from Raising Little Superheroes
Polar Bear Food Chains from Rainy Day Mum
Polar Bear Place Value Math Games from Sugar Aunts
Polar Bear Footprint Multiplication from Still Playing School
Arctic Animals Sight Words Game from 123 Homeschool 4 Me
Polar Animals True or False? from Sallie Borrink – Living and Learning Outside the Box
Polar Animal Pattern Activity for First Grade from Look! We’re Learning!
Penguin Art Project from Preschool Powol Packets
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