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4.2: Using Energy Flow in a community – Student Edition (Human Biology)

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Begin by discussing the main question posed at the beginning of the section, “How does energy flow through a biological community?” This emphasizes the multifaceted flow of energy as opposed to the linear food chain concept. Distinguish between a food web and a food chain. One way to do this is by asking students to identify when two simple food chains interact to form a food web.

Assign Mini Activities: Draw Your Community and Draw the Community of a Large mouth Bass to reinforce the concept of biological communities. Then have students compare their own community to that of the bass.

Illustrate energy pyramids and how energy is always lost by assigning Enrichment 3-2: The Energy Game.

Assign Activity 3-1: Classifying the Players in a Willow Forest as a culminating activity to assess whether students can classify the major players in a food web and their sources of energy.

  • Draw Your Community

Students identify ten members of their community and discuss how these people interact with one another.

  • Draw the Community of a Largemouth Bass

Students draw and show the interactions between organisms in an aquatic habitat.

  • What Can You Add to the Web?

Students analyze a food web and add appropriate organisms.

Imagine you are an organism that lives in the pond. You can be the largemouth bass, the algae on the surface of the pond, the crawfish, or any organism you decide to be. When you decide which organism you want to be, write a story or poem about a day in your life in the community. Would you ever consider being a vegetarian or a vegan?

What Do You think?

If you had your choice, would you rather be a producer, consumer, or decomposer? Why?

A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org.

List 5 foods that might be included in a vegetarian diet that would not be included in a vegan diet.

What do you think is meant by the phrase “eating low on the food chain”? Could you feed more or fewer people from the same amount of land if everyone was a herbivore or if everyone was a carnivore?

Look at the energy pyramid in Figure 3.5. Suppose a trout eats a smelt and then a human eats the trout. Now, about how many of the original 1000 calories contained in the algae reach the human? How does this compare to the situation in which the human ate the smelt directly?

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