Modeling Food Webs in Darién, Panama
In this activity, students use cards to build model food webs and evaluate how ecological disturbances affect each trophic level using information from the citizen science website WildCam Darién.
Students identify producers and consumers in the rainforest ecosystem of Darién National Park in Panama from a curated set of cards of organisms found in the Darién. Students also create food chains to show the flow of energy in the system, introduce an ecological force or disturbance (e.g., logging), and predict how that force would impact animals in the chain. Students then construct a more complex model of the flow of energy by depicting multiple relationships in a food web and again make a prediction about the impact of introducing an ecological force.
Student Learning Targets
- Classify organisms based on their roles in the transfer of energy in an ecosystem.
- Create a model (e.g., a food chain) showing feeding relationships among organisms.
- Evaluate different models that depict relationships among organisms in a community.
- Predict how ecological forces or disturbances may impact models and justify claims with evidence.
carnivore, energy flow, herbivore, omnivore, primary consumer, producer, quaternary consumer, rule of 10 percent, secondary consumer, tertiary consumer
HS-LS2-4, HS-LS2-6; SEP2, SEP5, SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
ENE-1.N, ENE-1.O, ENE-4.A, ENE-4.B, SYI-1.G, SYI-1.H, SYI-2.A, SYI-2.B; SP2, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
4.1, 4.2, C.2, C.3
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 1.9, 1.10, 1.11
Learning Objectives & Practices: ENG-1.B, ENG-1.C, ENG-1.D, SP1, SP2, SP4, SP5
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.N-Q.1; MP1, MP4
Vision and Change (2009)
CC5; DP1, DP2, DP3