Students participate in a role-playing game where they will attempt to find food and avoid being eaten by predators. Through this activity, students model and explore the dynamics of energy transfer and bioaccumulation. This lesson plan is arranged in the research-supported model of the 5-E’s: Engage, Explore, Explain, Evaluate, and Extend. As students role-play the interactions between organisms at different trophic levels of an ecosystem, they collect and analyze data. These activities directly relate to the learning expectation of analyzing energy flow through an ecosystem.
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- Students participate in a role-playing game where they will attempt to find food and avoid being eaten by predators, in an effort to discover the dynamics of energy transfer and bioaccumulation.
- Role cards:
- 16 diatoms (primary producers)
- 8 copepods (primary consumers)
- 4 herring (secondary consumers)
- 2 chum salmon (tertiary consumers)
- 1 killer whale
- Badge holders
- Plastic or paper chips or markers (10 green per diatom, 4 red)
- Chart paper and markers
- Be sure to tell the students that this is an investigation and they must follow the rules: listen to the teacher’s instructions, no rough play, think of themselves as the organism they chose.
- Cut out the cards and put them into badge holders so that each organism is visible through the clear plastic.
- Assemble the plastic chips.
- Photocopy the worksheet for each student.