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Marine WATERs - Western Australia - Teacher Education Resources Government of Western Australia

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Feeling peckish?

Posted on: April 23, 2012

Imagine your life if you were a fish – your main concerns on a daily basis would be finding food, not becoming food yourself, rest, finding food, not becoming food, find a mate, rest, finding food …

Luckily for us, finding food usually extends as far as visiting the supermarket and ‘catching’ our dinner into a shopping basket.  Our next challenge is then cooking, but at least we don’t have to concern ourselves with being eaten by someone else!

Use the SEE Food Lesson Plan to investigate who eats what in the marine environment.  It begins with plankton, the microscopic plants and animals that form the basis of the food chain (see The Plankton Challenge) and ends with a top level predator – us!  This lesson plan is based on the fantastic book See Food (Windy Hollow books), written by Guundie Kuchling who lives here in Western Australia! 

In Activity 3, students build a food pyramid using organisms from the story and investigate what happens when parts of the pyramid are removed.  Another way to conduct this activity is to write each of the organisms in the food pyramid on cards (in the same ratios as they are in Activity 3).  Give each student a labeled card and a piece of string.  Ask students to hold opposite end of the string with those that they either consume, or are consumed by.  One by one, remove organisms from the group (ask them to let go of the string, and sit down).  As each organism is removed, there will be a domino effect of others who no longer have a food source.  This is a really simple but very visual way of explaining food webs to students.  As an extension on this, try the Tied up in a Marine Food Web activity in the Marine Connections lesson plan.     

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