Year 7 Science

Lesson Title

Food Webs 

Context

This lesson is an introductory lesson to the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ lesson and provides an introduction to the human impact on food webs while incorporating Indigenous perspectives and knowledge. 

Content Descriptions

 -          Science / Year 7 / Science Understanding / Biological sciences / ACSSU112

-          Interactions between organisms, including the effects of human activities can be represented by food chains and food webs.

Achievement Standard

This lesson sequence provides opportunities to gather information about students’ understanding related to the sections in bold in the achievement statement below:

By the end of Year 7, students describe techniques to separate pure substances from mixtures. They represent and predict the effects of unbalanced forces, including Earth’s gravity, on motion. They explain how the relative positions of Earth, the sun and moon affect phenomena on Earth. They analyse how the sustainable use of resources depends on the way they are formed and cycle through Earth systems. They predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms and classify and organise diverse organisms based on observable differences. Students describe situations where scientific knowledge from different science disciplines and diverse cultures has been used to solve a real-world problem. They explain possible implications of the solution for different groups in society.

Students identify questions that can be investigated scientifically. They plan fair experimental methods, identifying variables to be changed and measured. They select equipment that improves fairness and accuracy and describe how they considered safety. Students draw on evidence to support their conclusions. They summarise data from different sources, describe trends and refer to the quality of their data when suggesting improvements to their methods. They communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.

Teacher Information (Explanation of concepts, common misunderstandings, alternative conceptions)

Students who belong to remote Indigenous communities traditionally have a deep connection to their Country; the animals and plant species that inhabit Country form a part of the Indigenous Australian concept of Country and traditionally utilised native and feral species as a food source. Sharing cultural knowledge of local ecosystems and learning western-scientific ecological concepts may aid in preserving traditional ecological knowledge whilst enhancing students understanding of the concept of sustainability.

Specific strategies are used to engage Indigenous students in the curriculum:

-          Share stories of personal experiences with some of the animals in the food chains and webs.

-          Ask students to share their cultural names for animals and plants in the food chain and web explored.

Engagement through art

Materials and Equipment

Images of local wildlife

Reference food chains and webs from the local ecosystem  

Safety Advice

 Regular scissor and classroom safety rules should be followed. 

Teaching Sequence

Lesson Objective 

-          Knowledge of inter-species feeding relationships in the local habitat.

-          The ability to classify organisms of an environment according to their position in a food chain.

-          Knowledge of the threats that feral animals pose to native wildlife.

Introduction

  1. 1. Visualise the process, show students a food chain (draw on board or show digital image on a smart board). Explain the feeding relationship indicated by the arrows on the diagram.    
  1. 2. Show and explain food webs. Use the imagery to make connections. Ask students to give Indigenous names for species. 
  2.  
  3. 3. Link in the concepts of producers, primary, secondary and tertiary consumers using a story narrative. Add these labels to the species in the food web displayed on the board. 

Core

 4. Give students the hand out (see attached worksheet), a blank sheet of paper, pencils and erasers. Ask students to add to, or draw (depending on abilities and knowledge of individual students) their own food web based upon their own knowledge. Ask the students to label the species according to their position in the food web.      

  1. 5. Tell the students that their food webs will be displayed on the walls of the classroom – to encourage student artistic effort and creativity.

5 minute break.

  1. 6. Storytelling, show images of species that occur in central Australia, and discuss encounters with these animals
  1. 7. Develop, discuss and annotate a mind-map. Based upon the template provided (see worksheet 2 collaborate with the class to build a mind-map linking Indigenous perspectives to the western scientific concept of food chains. This will be displayed as a poster on the classroom wall. Be sure to make links to local communities, for instance through reference to bush tucker.

Conclusion

  1. Invite some of the students to talk about their food webs, stories and experiences relating to the creatures.
  1. Conclude by thanking the students for sharing their experiences and knowledge with the class.

Lesson Resources

Digital Resources

X Mind- Mind-map creating technology

XMind. (2006-2016). XMind. Retrieved from http://www.xmind.net/

Worksheets

 See below – images borrowed with permission from Etienne Littlefair (2018)

Useful Links

O'Dea, K., Jewell, P., Whiten, A., Altmann, S., Strickland, S. & Oftedal, O. (1991). Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian Aboriginal hunter-gatherers [and discussion]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.Series B: Biological Sciences, 334(1270), 233-241. 

Robinson, C., Smyth, D., & Whitehead, P. (2005). Bush tucker, bush pets, and bush threats: cooperative management of feral animals in Australia's Kakadu National Park. Conservation Biology, 19(5), 1385-1391.

Smyth, D. (1994). Understanding Country: The importance of land and sea in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander societies. Canberra: Australia.

Yunkaporta, T. (2009). Aboriginal pedagogies at the cultural interface (Doctoral dissertation, James Cook University).

Lesson Plan adapted from a lesson created by Etienne Littlefair 2016