Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Singin' About the Food Chain

Singin’ About the Food Chain


Integrated Music/Science Lesson for 3rd Grade

20-30 minutes


1. Objectives: All students will adapt facts about the food chain as verses for the song, Skip to My Lou (see attachment) and create a rhythmic accompaniment to their verse using body percussion.

2. Standards: Music—Improvise simple rhythmic accompaniments (also singing)
Science—Food Chains

3. Preparation: Food Chain Handout

4. Anticipatory Set: Echo rhythms

5. Teaching (input, model, check for understanding, individual and group practice, etc.)
  • Give the students the food chain handout and read the first section together
  • Sing the food chain chorus for the students (to the tune of Skip to My Lou)
            Food chain, food chain, food chain
            Food chain, food chain, food chain
            Food chain, food chain, food chain
            Singin’ about the food chain.

  • Invite the students to sing along
  • Demonstrate and have the students imitate the actions for the song (roll arms until the last word of the line and then touch side of face with right hand and left hand to right elbow end of each line, clap the rhythm on the last line)
  • As a class, make up a verse that has a sentence from the food chain handout (such as “Carnivores eat only meat”) repeated three times and followed by “Singin’ about the food chain.”
  • As a class, add a repeated body percussion pattern along with the verse.
  • Divide the class into groups and have them each come up with a verse and a rhythm accompaniment for it. Maybe give each group a different part of the food chain to define.
6. Closure
Perform the food chain. Have each group perform their verse. At the beginning have all the students sing the chorus and then repeat the chorus after each verse.

7. Extension
Write down all of the verses and the chorus and repeat the song during subsequent class periods.

Food Chains and Webs

Do you like to play games? If you do, you will need energy. Every time you run or jump, you are using up energy in your body. How do you get the energy to play? You get energy from the food you eat. Similarly, all living things get energy from their food so that they can move and grow. As food passes through the body, some of it is digested. This process of digestion releases energy.

A food chain shows how each living thing gets its food. Some animals eat plants and some animals eat other animals. For example, a simple food chain links the trees & shrubs, the giraffes (that eat trees & shrubs), and the lions (that eat the giraffes). Each link in this chain is food for the next link. A food chain always starts with plant life and ends with an animal.

  • Plants are called producers because they are able to use light energy from the Sun to produce food (sugar) from carbon dioxide and water.
  • Animals cannot make their own food so they must eat plants and/or other animals. They are called consumers. There are three groups of consumers.
  • Animals that eat ONLY PLANTS are called herbivores (or primary consumers).
  • Animals that eat OTHER ANIMALS are called carnivores.
    • carnivores that eat herbivores are called secondary consumers
    • carnivores that eat other carnivores are called tertiary consumers
      e.g., killer whales in an ocean food web ... phytoplankton → small fishes → seals → killer whales                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Animals and people who eat BOTH animals and plants are called omnivores.
  • Then there are decomposers (bacteria and fungi) which feed on decaying matter.

    These decomposers speed up the decaying process that releases mineral salts back into the food chain for absorption by plants as nutrients.

Do you know why there are more herbivores than carnivores?

In a food chain, energy is passed from one link to another. When a herbivore eats, only a fraction of the energy (that it gets from the plant food) becomes new body mass; the rest of the energy is lost as waste or used up by the herbivore to carry out its life processes (e.g., movement, digestion, reproduction). Therefore, when the herbivore is eaten by a carnivore, it passes only a small amount of total energy (that it has received) to the carnivore. Of the energy transferred from the herbivore to the carnivore, some energy will be "wasted" or "used up" by the carnivore. The carnivore then has to eat many herbivores to get enough energy to grow.


Because of the large amount of energy that is lost at each link, the amount of energy that is transferred gets lesser and lesser ...
  • The further along the food chain you go, the less food (and hence energy) remains available.

The above energy pyramid shows many trees & shrubs providing food and energy to giraffes. Note that as we go up, there are fewer giraffes than trees & shrubs and even fewer lions than giraffes ... as we go further along a food chain, there are fewer and fewer consumers. In other words, a large mass of living things at the base is required to support a few at the top ... many herbivores are needed to support a few carnivores

  • Most food chains have no more than four or five links.

There cannot be too many links in a single food chain because the animals at the end of the chain would not get enough food (and hence energy) to stay alive.

Most animals are part of more than one food chain and eat more than one kind of food in order to meet their food and energy requirements. These interconnected food chains form a food web.



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