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Lesson 2: Mystery Dinner—Energy in Ecosystems

Authored by Facing the Future

60 minutes
Primary subjects: 
Science
Grade: 
3, 4, 5
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The class uses an energy flow diagram to represent transfer of energy from the sun to food to people. Then small groups create dinner menus to represent energy flow through particular food chains and analyze the roles of the sun, producers, consumers, and decomposers in ecosystems.

After brainstorming the connection between energy and food, the class creates an energy flow diagram to represent the transfer of energy from the sun to food to people. Students then attend a mystery dinner party where they gather as organisms into their respective ecosystems, create a dinner menu to represent energy flow through a food chain, identify patterns among different food chains and ecosystems, and guess the mystery host.

Key objectives for students
Trace energy flow throughout an ecosystem.
Identify patterns among different food chains and ecosystems.
Draw conclusions about the roles of the sun, producers, consumers, and decomposers in ecosystems.
Secondary subjects
Geography
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