After the excitement of finding several small squid and fish inside our porgy dissection, we saw a perfect opportunity to begin exploring the food chain. This week, small groups have spent work times coming up with ideas about "what eats what in the ocean." Using the contents of the porgy's stomach as a starting point, kids have engaged in informed speculation about predator/prey relationships in the ocean. For the first few days of the week, these talks were combined with drawing prompts which asked kids to illustrate the ocean food chain; by the end of Tuesday's work time, a large scale example had been created for the classroom, and was labelled as follows:
Prsin --- Shrk --- Prge --- Ldl Fish --- Krl --- Planktin
( Person - Shark - Porgy - Little Fish - Krill - Plankton)
The group that created this model taught it to the rest of the class during a reflection meeting.
By combining their knowledge and debating in small groups, the kids have refined their understanding of the food chain, so during a recent Morning Meeting the Annas shared this diagram with the class.
Kids were easily able to "read" the diagram, explaining its meaning by saying, "something eats another and another thing eats the other thing and its keeps going until it stops" and "the first thing that gets eaten is plants."
We were all particularly interested in on question that came up: do large predators only eat carnivores, or can they eat anything below them on the food chain? One child related this question to an idea that Zach brought up in his visit on Monday: people are part of the food chain too! We can make choices about what we eat, so it makes sense that other predators might be able to as well. We'll be looking into this more during an afternoon research group this week.
Meanwhile, we've started a large-scale sculptural version of the food chain... here are some pictures of today's work on the shark. Look out for this work in the classroom soon!