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					Colorado Agriscience Curriculum

Section:              Plant & Soil Science

Unit:                 Introduction to Plant Science

Lesson Number:        2

Lesson Title:         Understanding the Plant Kingdom

Ag Ed Standards
AGS11/12.04 The student will demonstrate an understanding of physiological processes.
      Enabler 4 Identify economically important crop and weed plants and their seeds.

Colorado Science Standards
Standard 3.1 Students know and understand the characteristics of living things, the diversity of
life, and how living things interact with each other and their environment.

Standard 3.2 Students know and understand interrelationships of matter and energy in living
systems.

Student Learning Objectives:
As a result of this lesson, the student will …
Objective #1: Distinguish between producers and consumers in energy production and
                understand the importance of each in the food chain.
Objective #2: Describe how producers and consumers are related on the food chain.
Objective #3: Determine the importance of agricultural plants in the food chain.

Time: Instruction time for this lesson is 50 minutes.

Resources:
Plants & Animals Biology and Production (Lee, Biodo, Hutter, Westrom, Patrick, authors)
Biology The Dynamics of Life (Briggs, Gregg, Hagins, Kapicka, Lundgren, Rillero, National
Geographic Society, authors)

Tools, Equipment, and Supplies
   ● Note cards, one per student
   ● PowerPoint presentation to accompany lesson plan
   ● Copies of vocabulary words and definitions printed off and posted around the classroom
       for the “Go Get It Moment.”
   ●
Key Terms
The following terms are presented in this lesson:
Autotrophs           Herbivore                Trophic Level     Heterotrophs
Carnivore            Food Chain               Omnivore
Interest Approach

Congratulations!
You have all been selected as the new, up and coming marketing firm responsible for the new
campaign slogans for a new protein bar and a new energy drink! You have 5 minutes to find your
marketing partner and develop a slogan for each of these products! Ready? Go and slogan!

After students have developed their slogans, have each of the marketing teams present their
slogans to the classroom!

Have you ever wondered why these products have been on such a great consumption incline?
These products are all about providing energy in quick form! When have you seen these products
used the most? That’s correct! When quick energy is needed like when people are working out,
exerting a lot of power in their hikes, games etc.

The entire food chain is made up of energy consumers. Every time we eat something, we take up
energy. Remember that energy is never recycled – always consumed! The goal for today’s lesson
is to better explore how food, and thus energy are utilized in the food chain. As we begin, you
will need something to take notes on and something to take notes with – please get prepared
now!

Summary of Content and Teaching Strategies
Objective 1. As a result of this lesson, the student will distinguish between producers and
consumers in energy production and understand the importance of each in the food chain.

Today we are going to learn how living species get their own “Power Bar.” How do plants obtain
their energy? How does this compare to how you obtain your energy? Why is energy necessary to
all living things? It allows plant and animals to expend energy for important functions including
movement, work, reproduction, etc. What activities do you do that require energy?

On the last page of this lesson are 10 boxes with the vocabulary words and definitions for this
lesson. Cut apart the words and definitions and post them around the room. During the “Go Get
it Moment” students will get their vocabulary words and definitions. Depending on the number
of students, you may need multiple copies printed off!

To begin we are going to have a “Go Get it Moment!” For today’s lesson you need to define five
main words. These words and the definitions are posted around the room. When I say “Define” I
want all of you to locate your vocabulary words and the definitions. You will have only 3
minutes to collect the five words and correct definitions! What can I clarify? Ready? DEFINE!

After students have collected their definitions, have them return to their seats. Utilize the
PowerPoint to check for student accuracy on the “Go Get It Moment.” Make sure that they
collect all of the definitions and information in their notebooks!
Proceed through the slides, utilize the text below for talking points and discussion items!

What is an autotroph?
Autotrophs are organisms that utilize energy from the sun or energy stored in chemical compounds
to manufacture their own nutrients. The most familiar autotrophs are plants; however there are other
unicellular organisms that make their own nutrients. Most other organisms depend on autotrophs, at
least partially, for their nutrients and energy. The origin of the word autotroph comes from the
Greek words auto, meaning “self” and trophe, meaning “nourishment.” Does this make sense in
relation to plants? Explain. Therefore are plants considered to be producers or consumers? Explain!

Trivia for the day: what do deer, bison, owls and humans all have in common?
They are all considered to be heterotrophs! This is also our second vocabulary word. The origin of
the word comes from the Greek words hetero, meaning “other” and trophe meaning “nourishment.”
This makes sense! Heterotrophs are incapable of making their own energy and depend on others to
supply it. Heterotrophs obtain nutrients by eating other organisms.

There are three types of autotrophs – can you name them? Yes! They are herbivores, omnivores, and
carnivores – the last three vocabulary definitions. Follow along and see if you were correct in the
“Go Get It Moment.” Herbivores are grazing, seed-eating and algae-eating animals that depend only
on plants for food. Heterotrophs that eat other heterotrophs such as lions are called carnivores; and
finally omnivores which are heterotrophs that eat both plants and animals. You are a perfect
example of an omnivore!

Here is the kicker question…are heterotrophs produces or consumers? Defend your answer.
The correct answer is that all heterotrophs are consumers. They utilize others for their energy
sources and can not produce their own energy!

Objective 2. Describe how producers and consumers are related on the food chain.

How do each of these organisms relate to each other in a food chain?
Food chains are simple models that scientists use to show how matter and energy move through an
ecosystem. Nutrients and energy proceed from autotrophs to heterotrophs and eventually to
decomposers, who break down dead and decaying plants and animals into simpler molecules to be
used by other organisms. What are the levels of a food chain? These levels are called trophic
levels. You can think of them of steps on the food pyramid. Let’s discuss these levels. As we do I
want you to recreate the drawing in your notes…Are you ready? Let’s begin.

Show next PowerPoint Slide.
The first trophic level (or feeding step) in all food chains is made up of photosynthetic autotrophs –
the producers. Give me examples of producer organisms. Excellent, these are producers - write
these examples on the bottom level of your food chain!

The second trophic level of the food chain is made up of first-order heterotrophs – the herbivores.
Remind me…what is an herbivore? Right, again record these excellent examples on the second
level of your food chain.
The second-order heterotrophs, carnivores, make up the third trophic level. What are examples of
organisms that are second order heterotrophs? Frogs, snakes, hawks, and spiders are all examples of
second-order heterotrophs! Great job!

Finally, the top of our food chain are third-order heterotrophs, carnivores, which feed on second
order heterotrophs, make up the fourth trophic level.

Here is the bonus question. If you needed to include bacteria and fungi on our food chain where
would you find them? Allow time for students to hypothesize the answer to this question. If someone
gets it correct, praise them, otherwise provide the following statement to them for clarification!
Bacteria and fungi, the decomposers, are found in all links of the food chain when organisms die.

Let me check your drawings and food chain labels! After you have the chart completed, list each
level as either a producer or consumer. Proceed around the room and monitor the information in
student notebooks. Assist students in answers questions, as necessary.


                       The Food Chain
                                                         Fourth Trophic Level - third-order heterotrophs or carnivores
                                                         that feed on second-order heterotrophs.



                                                         Third Trophic Level – second-order heterotrophs or carnivores!



                                                         Second Trophic Level – first-order heterotrophs or herbivores!



                                                         First Trophic Level – photosynthetic autotrophs – the producers!


Proceed to next PowerPoint Slide.
Now that we have created our food chain, we need to discuss the utilization of energy within the
system. How efficient does energy travel from the first trophic level to the fourth? Any guesses?
Allow students to guess how much energy is lost from one level to the next. If they are struggling
with the concept, read the next passage to them. Ask students to please capture the information
from the statement into their notes.
In a typical food chain, not all animals or plants are eaten by the next trophic level. In addition, there
are portions or materials (such as beaks, shells, bones, etc.) that are also not eaten. That is why the
transfer of matter and energy from one trophic level to the next is not an efficient one.

One way to calculate the energy transfer, or efficiency, of a system is by measuring the energy at
one trophic level and then at the next. Calorie is a unit of measure used for energy. The energy
transfer from one trophic level to the next is about 10%. Only 10%! Therefore, we would say that
this is a relatively inefficient system. Just think about all of the plants that are not eaten by
consumers. Therefore there has to be a very large percentage of producers to support even a few of
organisms that are third order consumers – at the top of our food chain. That is why there are
relatively few high order predators. For example, if there are 10,000 calories at one level, only 1,000
are transferred to the next. This 10% energy and material transfer rule can be depicted with an
ecological pyramid that looks like this:




Objective 3. As a result of this lesson, the student will be able to determine the importance of
plants in the food chain.

Proceed to the next PowerPoint slide.

The Plant Kingdom is important to everyone. Plants provide nourishment for our bodies and souls.
With the help of protists and fungi, plants provide the oxygen we breathe and the food that sustains
us -- either directly or indirectly, by feeding other animals. Plants provide shade over our heads and
cool carpets under our feet while surrounding us with beautiful colors and marking the change of
seasons.

Remind me where you would find the Plant Kingdom in the food chain? Answer: They are in the
first trophic level on the bottom of the food chain. Because the plant kingdom is considered to be
primary-producers, none of the rest of the food chain can exist without it! Without plants, all other
life would not be sustained! It would look very similar to the geography and environment of the
moon!
So, how important is the Plant Kingdom? It is ESSENTIAL!!!
Great job today in capturing this information into your notebooks!

Review/Summary.
To review the important concepts that we have learned today, we are once again going to get into
our marketing teams. This time, however, you have to come up with a slogan to market the correct
energy source at each level of the food chain. For instance, you have to come up with a slogan to
market sun to the primary autotrophs! You need to come up with a marketing slogan or marketing
jingle for each level of the food chain and include the vocabulary words that we defined. You have
10 minutes to finish up, record your jingles and turn them in before you leave today. Ready? Go!

Application
Extended classroom activity:
Utilize the lab attached to the back of the lesson plan for an extended class activity.

FFA activity:
Have students look at the list of CDE’s. How many of them relate to the food chain? Ask them if
they can determine why Career Development Events reinforce the importance of the food chain and
their products.

SAE activity:
Have students identify one main product of their SAEP. Ask students to say how their SAEP’s and
the products produced from SAEP’s support the information on the food chain.

Evaluation:
Have students write a one paragraph essay that depicts why plants are essential in the food chain.
Then evaluate the paragraph for accuracy!
Autotroph




Heterotroph




Omnivore




Carnivore




Herbivore
Extended Lab Activity

Utilize the following activity to review food webs. To further reinforce ideas, have students classify
each note card according to their place on the food chain.
Food Webs

Adapted from: Kelly Ludwig, Lincoln-Way High School, Illinois

Objective:
The main objective of this mini-teach is to show students that a food web consists of any food
chains put together. Also, a food web shows the food relationship in a community.

Materials Needed:
Index cards, markers/colored pencils, tape and chalkboard/large sheet of paper

Strategy:
    1. Obtain an index card from the teacher. Write the name of one living thing (plant or animal)
       on the card. Draw a picture of the organism.
    2. The teacher will begin by sticking the "SUN" to the board.
    3. If you (the students) have something on your card that needs the sun directly to grow, raise
       your hand then attach your card to the board. Ask students to state what trophic level these
       producers are.
    4. Draw arrows in the proper places (the tail of the arrow is at the energy source, the point of
       the arrow at the energy consumer), following the energy flow.
    5. Ask students to see if their organism will eat any of the new organisms just posted. If it
       does, attach your card to the board. Draw the arrows showing the energy flow.
    6. Continue to see if your organism will eat any of the new organisms posted. If so, raise your
       hand and then attach your card to the board. Draw the arrows.
    7. Continue to add all the cards.
When all cards have been added to the board, ask how many arrows are pointing at the sun. Why?
The correct answer should be none, because energy is not recycled, but is instead used up in the
food chain.

Performance Assessment:
At the conclusion of the Mini-teach, students will be able to answer the following questions:
     1. Where do all living things get energy from?
     2. What is a producer?
     3. What do the arrows mean?
     4. What is a first order consumer? Give an example of a first order consumer.
     5. What is a second order consumer? Give an example of a second order consumer.
     6. What is a top order consumer? Give an example of a top order consumer.
     7. If an organism does not get posted what will happen to it?
     9. What is a food web?
    10. What does a food web tell us about life?

				
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