Jul 252014


This lesson teaches the importance of understanding how the context of the entire food web can shape whether or not we find species in an ecosystem or not. Both the life requirements and controlling factors (abiotic & biotic) that combine to determine where species can live are discussed.

Using two freshwater ponds, students will generate hypotheses about what they expect different food webs to look like and whether or not they will support focal species based on differences in environmental conditions. The biodiversity at multiple trophic levels and the water chemistry of the two ponds will be sampled by students to generate food webs and test the validity of their hypotheses.

At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about how species of interest are influenced by the community in which they are found.
  • Construct food webs that show how species are linked in a community through their feeding linkages.
  • Identify pond organisms at both the microscopic and macroscopic scales.


Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Pat Hanly and Partner-Teacher Marcia Angle, 2014