Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Sunbeam Dining

Pamela Mapoles


In this lesson, students read about animals to find at least two things animals eat. They play a food chain game and construct a food chain.


The student reads for information to use in performing a task and learning a new task.

The student knows that plants and animals are dependent upon each other for survival.


-A selection of animal books from library
-Collection of animal and plant pictures to construct food chains (this should include a sun)
-Strips of construction paper (2" x 8" or sized to fit pictures for use in assessment)
-Blank Venn diagram to group animals according to what they eat
-Index cards with pictures of food chain components for the "Food Chain Game" (sun, plant eaters, 2-3 meat eaters)(1 set for every 2 to 6 players)
-[Zoo Books], Wild Life Education, LTD.California
-Schlichting, Sandi. [Super Science Sourcebook I and II], Idea Factory, 1989
-[Critters], AIMS Education Foundation, California, 1989
-Hickman, Pamela. [Hungry Animals], Kids Canadian Press, 1997
-Relf, Patricia. [Magic School Bus Gets Eaten: A Book About Food Chains], Scholastic 1996


1. Gather a selection of animal books showing what the animals eat.
2. Choose a book to read aloud that will introduce the food chain.
3. Prepare Food Chain Game.
4. Collect small pictures of animals, plants, and the sun to be duplicated and then, cut and pasted onto 2" x 8" strips of construction paper to construct a paper food chain.


1. Introduce the food chain by reading The Hungry Animals by Pamela Hickman (or any other book from your library that introduces the food chain). Discuss what makes up a food chain. Be sure the students understand that all energy begins with the sun.

2. Using teacher-selected materials, students will work cooperatively to read and find out what animals eat.

3. Working with the whole class, use a Venn diagram on the board, or a chart, to compare and contrast what they've learned in their groups about what animals eat. The Venn diagram should contain two overlapping circles. Label one circle PLANT EATERS. Label the other circle MEAT EATERS.

4. Play Food Chain Game as follows (Play like Rummy):

a. Children work together in a group of 2-6 students. One child will shuffle and pass out six animal cards to each child. The remaining cards should be placed in a stack face down. The top card should be turned face up to make a discard pile.

b. The player to the left begins play. The player can choose from the discard pile or from the stack of cards. The player must discard at the end of his turn (player should maintain six cards at all times).

c. The first player to hold a complete food chain of six cards is the winner.

d. If there is not a winner before the cards are depleted, reshuffle the discard pile and resume playing.

5. Review: play the game What is my Dinner? The teacher will select five students to come to the front of the class. Each student will be given a card (use cards from the Food Chain Game) that represents an animal or plant in a food chain. The students will then place themselves in the correct order to complete a food chain. Repeat activity until all students have participated in the game.


Students list an animal and name at least one thing the animal eats. Using duplicated pictures of animals glued to previously cut strips of paper, the students work as partners and construct two examples of the food chain. Students lay the strips out in the correct order to be checked before gluing, demonstrating an understanding of the interdependency of plants and animals that can be shown on the food chain. Students who are not successful will be given the opportunity to work with a mentor to put the chain in correct order. Observe students during games and construction of the Venn diagram to see if they follow directions to achieve group goals successfully, such as:

Following directions
Listening carefully
Take turns taking
Working with others
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