Objective: Students will learn that all of nature's creatures and plants depend on each
other for survival.
Materials: One set of wetland food web neck placards (beaver, cattail, dragonfly, duck,
fish; fox, frog, grasshopper, great blue heron, lily pad; marsh hawk, mosquito, muskrat,
raccoon, redwinged blackbird; snake, spider, sun, turtle, water), reference sheet and
Background: Animals rely on plants and other animals for energy to survive. Plants
(producers) are able to convert energy from the sun into carbohydrates. Animals
(consumers), however, must consume other plants or animals for energy to survive.
Those organisms (decomposers) that consume dead plant and/or animal matter can
range from large animals such as turkey vultures to microscopic organisms such as
bacteria. The association of plants and animals that feed upon each other is known as a
food web. A healthy food web usually has a diverse group of producers, consumers,
Have students stand in a large circle.
Pass out the food web neck placards. Teacher will have to predetermine whether to
discuss a balanced or unbalanced food web and pass out placards accordingly. Note:
see attached information for examples of each.
Introduce the class to the member of the wetlands food web represented by the neck
placards they are wearing.
Start the ball of string with the student identified as the sun. Students should pass the
string to someone that depends upon them as a source of food. When you finish, look
at the web you have created. Some students will be connected more than once. Others
may only be connected to one or two sources. In an unbalanced web, there will be
some students not connected at all. Teacher will need to explain that in an unbalanced
web, individuals will go hungry as there is not enough diversity in the food supply.
During the game, encourage students to discuss reasons why a food web might
become unbalanced and have them brainstorm for solutions to the problems they
Assign students a specific plant or animal in the food web. Have them create their own
movements and sounds that each would make. Have them perform their actions as part
of a wetland production. Video record, and when playing back, encourage students to
consider what would happen to the production if their specific part was eliminated. What
would happened to the other players in the production.
Carnivores: Animals that eat meat
Food web: The association of plants and animals that feed upon each other
Herbivores: Animals that consume plants
Omnivores: Animals that eat both plants and animals
Predator: An organism that captures and feeds on other organisms
Activity adapted from: IEC Wetlands
SD Standards for 4th grade:
Classroom or Wetland
Prior Preparation: Students can
review the US Geological Survey
poster: Wetlands: Water, Wildlife,
Plants and people to become familiar
with different types of wetlands.
Students should review the different
types of creatures that inhabit
food web, predator, herbivores,