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Food Web Tag

A food web shows the feeding relationships within an ecosystem and can be divided into 3 parts:

  • Producers: plants that use energy from the sun to grow
  • Consumers: animals that eat plants or other animals to gain energy to grow
  • Decomposers: fungi, bacteria, or invertebrates that consume dead or decaying plant or animal material

​In this game, students will assume these roles to see how these three groups can interact in a simplified way. There are many producers. Consumers eat the producers, and decomposers recycle dead producers into nutrients for new producers to grow. Decomposers do not directly turn dead organisms into living organisms as depicted in the game, but they do give the nutrients and create the environment for new organisms.

Objectives

  • List and identify examples of decomposers and describe their role within a simple food web.

Materials

  • open area to run

  • 4 red armbands/bandanas

  • 6 green armbands/bandanas

Key Questions

  • How is the game of tag a cycle?
  • What was passed from one player to the next?
  • What role do the decomposers play in the cycle?
  • What would happen without the decomposers?

What To Do

Teacher Tip: Before the game, review the parts of the food chain as a means to assess students’ prior knowledge. This would be a good way to introduce how a food web looks and works, as well as to highlight the roles or the organisms within a food web. This could be done as a mini-lesson, or may be part of a unit for which this game functions as a fun way for students to apply their new knowledge.

Set-up

  1. Set a boundary for students to run in.
  2. Select 4 students to be consumers. Give them a red armband each.
  3. Select 6 students to be decomposers. Give them a green armband each.
  4. The rest of the students are producers.

Instructions

  1. Producers run around, avoiding the consumers.
  2. Consumers tag the producers to eat them. When a producer is “dead”, they must fall on the floor or freeze in position.
  3. Decomposers can tag “dead” producers to turn them into new producers.
  4. Play a few rounds, switching students’ roles

Extensions

  • Take a field trip to a park or small forest and look for fungi.
  • Notice what kinds of places are more likely for fungi to grow, and speculate about why.