Food Chain

Food Chain

Curriculum Expectation

Overall Expectation

Demonstrate an understanding of interactions between and among biotic and abiotic elements in the environment.


Specific Expectation

Describe the transfer of energy in a food chain and explain the effects of the elimination of any part of the chain (ON Science Grade 7 Curriculum, p. 128).

Learning Objectives/Big Idea

Learning Objective: Understanding how the energy transfers from a prey to a predator and the consequences when the population of prey and/or predator decreases.

Big Idea: Understand the relationship between plants/animals in a food chain.

Binogi Related Resources

Logo of Binogi

Additional Resources

Smarter Steps to Science Inquiry Framework


Energy, food chain, producers, (primary, secondary, tertiary) consumers.

The Glossary Sheets to the left include terms from Binogi’s The Nutrient Chain and Food Chains and Food Webs Videos in English and other languages.

Minds On Activity

  • Set up 4-Corners: each corner will have the following sign – “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree.”
  • Read out the following statements and students move to the corner that aligns best with their thinking; after each statement, students discuss with peers within the same corner and share what they discussed with the class.

  1. We can live without plants.
  2. Animals and plants are independent of each other.
  3. Climate does not influence animals and plants in a habitat.
  4. When animals and plants die, they are used by plants as energy.

Action Activity

Food Chain activity

  1. Prepare the followings: 50 green counters (represent algae), 20 red counters (represent toxic chemicals), name tags, paper cups, small bounce balls.
  2. Divide the class into 3 groups: small aquatic insects/fish, mallard ducks, humans
  3. Assign half of the class as small aquatic insects/fish, ~ 40% of the class as mallard ducks, and ~ 10% as humans. Then each student write what they are representing on a name tag and wear it. Each of the “small aquatic insects/fish” student get a paper cup.
  4. Ask students which species is eaten by which? Write down the order on the board (algae, aquatic insects/fish, mallard ducks, humans). Inform students this is called “Food Chain”- a sequence that shows how energy and nutrients flow from one organism to another.
  5. Scatter all the counters on the floor/field (“lake”).
  6. Small aquatic insects/fish enter the “lake” for 30 seconds, pick up as many counters as they can and keep them in the paper cup. They stop once 30 seconds is up. (** no running)
  7. Mallard ducks enter the “lake” for 30 seconds and small aquatic insects/fish hand over the cup when they are approached by mallard ducks. (** no running, but they can move fast).
  8. Ask Mallard Ducks to count the number of red counters they have in their cup.
  9. Humans use small bounce balls to catch mallard ducks from outside the “lake”. Mallard ducks to hand over the cup when they are caught. (** Inform students that this is not a dodgeball activity)
  10. Ask Humans to count the number of red counters they have in their cup.


Small Group Discussion:

  • How would you visually present the relationship between the aquatic fish, Mallard ducks, and humans?
  • How would a food chain for an animal look like?
  • What are some factors that disrupt a food chain? 

Language Friendly Pedagogy

Ask students whether they can add new vocabulary to their Concept Detective document. You may print this or make a copy  for each student on programs like Google Classroom. Students will be encouraged to use this document each class to identify new words, consider writing meaning or finding meanings with the help of peers, teachers and/ or parents. 

Examples of concepts to add for this unit include: 

  • ecological pyramids
  • limiting factors
  • energy
  • food chain
  • producers, (primary, secondary, tertiary)
  • consumers

Interactive Games (Coming Soon!)