The Food Chain that
Nature Built

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The House That Jack Built
by Simms Tayback

Read the book "The House That Jack Built" to set your creative thoughts in motion. Next imagine a food chain, and illustrate each step.

Finally, write a rhyme patterned after "The House That Jack Built" to show the chain of events that connects the trophic levels of your food chain.

Here is a sample food chain you can use (but it’s even better to come up with your own!)

  • The sun shone on a field and the grass grew.
  • A deer dined on the grass that the sun grew.
  • A mosquito bit the deer that dined on the grass that the sun grew.
  • A hummingbird ate the mosquito that bit the deer that dined on the grass that the sun grew.
  • A crow killed the hummingbird that ate the mosquito that bit the deer that dined on the grass that the sun grew.
  • A falcon swallowed the crow that killed the hummingbird that ate the mosquito that bit the deer that dined on the grass that the sun grew.
  • A cougar conquered the falcon that swallowed the crow that killed the hummingbird that ate the mosquito that bit the deer that dined on the grass that the sun grew.
  • The cougar died and a...

Some Terminology:

  • Ecologists call the path of food consumption a "food chain."
  • Each level of consumption in a food chain is called a "trophic level."
  • The word "trophic" comes from a Greek word meaning "to nourish."
  • To find an animal's place in the food chain, count the number of energy-transfer steps from the sun to the animal.

National Science Education Standards

  • All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Others eat animals that eat plants.
  • For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. That energy then passes from organism to organism in food webs.


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