Plants and Animals of the arctic 5 - ?· learn more about the plants and animals of the arctic ecosystem…

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  • SummaryStudents create an arctic foodweb to understand the feedingconnections and socialrelationships between tundraplants and animals.

    Grade Level:3-4; K-2; 5-8

    Time:one to three class periods.

    Subjects:science, creative arts, physicaleducation

    Skills:analysis, comparison,construction, critical thinking

    Learning Objectives:Students will be able to: Explain the relationships

    between several arcticplants and animals.

    Identify a number ofarctic plants andanimals and theirrole in arctic foodchains.

    Materials:

    One rag, bandana orcloth for each student,using three different colorsfor the class,

    Arctic Species cards (included)

    Background

    The arctic is home to plants andanimals adapted to take advan-tage of its unique climate. Onthe following pages are examplesof plants (producers), herbivores(primary consumers, plant-eaters), omnivores (eat bothplant and animal matter), andcarnivores (primarily meat-eaters). Your students will usethese relationships to create theirown food chains and food websin this activity. Your class canlearn more about the plants andanimals of the arctic ecosystem byreading Arctic Summer by DownsMatthews (1993; New York:Simon & Schuster).

    Procedure

    1. With your class, review orintroduce the terms producer,herbivore, omnivore andcarnivore. Explain that theywill begin by examining somearctic food chains to learnabout the feeding connectionsof tundra species, and will ulti-mately construct an arctic foodweb. Ask your students, Whatis the main source of energy forall living things? (the sun) Howdoes the energy get from one

    organism to another? (throughfood chains) Discuss the role ofdecomposers in recycling nutri-ents.

    2. To practice making foodchains, organize your studentsinto small groups. To practice,distribute the Arctic Speciescards for them to line up

    ACTIVITY

    ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

    www.nwf.org

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    5Plants and Animals of the arctic

    PurpleSaxifrage

    WoolyCaterpillar

    GoldenPlover

    Lichens Caribou Wolf

    Sample food chains:

  • in logical feeding order,making one or more foodchains. Ask students to look ateach others food chains andidentify any problems. Howdoes each food chain start?Where does it end? How does itrecycle? Help students identifylinks in the chain they mayhave forgotten, such as startingwith the sun or includingdecomposers, etc.

    3. Collect the square cards thenre-distribute an assortment ofthem to the class, one for eachstudent. Distribute only onesun. Students should famil-

    iarize themselves with theircard, then attach it to the frontof their shirt using maskingtape. To illustrate the conceptof the food web, move thestudents to an open area. Havestudents circulate around thearea and join hands with otherstudents forming natural arctic

    food chains. Students shouldjoin fingers when it is necessaryto accommodate more than oneother student onto that end oftheir chain. In the case of anherbivore, for example, onehand should be dedicated toproducers, and the other handdedicated to omnivores.

    4. Once they have completedtheir food web, have them stopand look around. They will

    likely be well interconnected.Ask, How are you all connected?Why is it important that thereare so many links? How wouldremoving one species from theweb impact other species? Whatwould happen if we removedcaribou from the web? Beforeletting go of one another,

    choose only one individual,such as a caribou or a

    mosquito, and explain tothe students that therehas been an environ-

    mental disaster, causingthe extinction of the caribou.With all other studentsremaining in place, remove thecaribou from the group. Next,ask any students who wereconnected to the caribou andrelying on it for food, to leavethe group. Explain that if thecaribou (for example) are nolonger eating the lichen, lichenpopulations could grow out ofcontrol. When this happens,habitat occupied by other plantspecies may be overtaken. Todemonstrate, remove a mossor grass from the web. Anystudent who is relying on mossfor its food source should thenleave the group. Continue inthis fashion for as long as isreasonable, then have thestudents evaluate the web thatremains. This exercise shouldserve to illustrate the complexi-ties of the relationshipsbetween organisms in anyecosystem.

    www.nwf.org

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ARCTIC

    WOOLY CATERPILLAR

    PURPLE SAXIFRAGE

  • Modifications forYounger Students(K-2)

    Have students pick Arctic Speciescards from a bag or box and colorthem in. Then select studentvolunteers to hold up their card.Ask them, What does this animaleat? What eats it? Assist studentsto identify another student with acard that is predator or prey oftheir animal. Have them standnext to this new animal. Afterseveral rounds of moving studentsaround to stand next to predatorsand prey, point out to studentsthat all these animals and plantsare interconnected. What doesthat mean? What would happen ifone disappeared?

    Modifications forOlder Students (5-8)

    Have students work in smallgroups to make their ownarctic species cards and foodwebs based on the plants andanimals provided, or they canresearch several

    arctic species, determine whatthey eat and what eats them,and then create their owncards and food webs.

    Extensions

    Research real-life situations inwhich a pollutant movedthrough a food chain or web.Discuss with the students thefact that pollutants are some-times initially taken in by oneorganism, but may haveserious consequences to anorganism further along thechain. Examples would be theuse of thepesticide

    DDT, or fallout from theChernobyl nuclear powerplant accident. How did thispollutant affect the food web?

    Which arctic species can also befound in your region? Havestudents research and reporttheir findings to the class,including the food webs towhich they belong.

    Assessment

    Have students research thepredator/prey interactions oftheir chosen arctic species(from Activity 2) and create afood web highlighting thatspecies. Alternatively, havestudents create a food web forlocal species or a species foundon their schoolyard. Studentscan then create a predator-preymini-drama, and present theircreation to the class.

    www.nwf.org

    ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    GOLDENPLOVER

    ARCTIC WOLF

  • NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ARCTIC

    www.nwf.org

    ACTIVITY

    WORKSHEET

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    5

    Plankton

    Arctic poppy

    Purple Saxifrage Lichen

    Blueberry Bush

    Tundra Swan

    Arctic Species Cards

  • ACTIVITY

    ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

    www.nwf.org

    WORKSHEET 5

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    MooseMusk Oxen

    Caribou

    LemmingWooly Bear Caterpillar

    Lichen Moth

  • www.nwf.org

    ACTIVITY

    WORKSHEET

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    5

    NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ARCTIC

    Grizzly BearSnow Goose

    Snowshoe Hare

    Salmon

    Ptarmigan

    King Crab

  • ACTIVITY

    www.nwf.org

    WORKSHEET 5

    ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    Black Bear

    Walrus

    Arctic Fox Arctic Tern

    Golden Plover

    Polar Bear

  • www.nwf.org

    ACTIVITY

    WORKSHEET 5

    NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ARCTIC

    PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF THE ARCTIC

    Snowy Owl

    Eagle

    Humpback Whale

    Sun

    OrcaWolf

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