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Food Chain & Ecology Unit



This ecology unit is a bundle of lessons, labs, and field activities that will introduce your high school students to the basics of food chains, food webs, and symbiotic relationships.  Teacher lesson plans, notes, labs, activities, and assessments are all included!

All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL for efficient use in class or through distance learning.

PLEASE NOTE: This unit is part of my Full Environmental Science Curriculum.

What’s included in this Ecology Unit?

  • 10 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • 1 PowerPoint (27 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 4 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • 3 web-quests with corresponding student pages for independent learning
  • 3 pages of my popular Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom
  • 4 Activities: Spheres of the Earth outdoor activity, Animal Habitat and Niche Survey, Biological Relationships Symbiosis Activity, Prey Adaptations Research Activity
  • 3 Extension Pages: 2 Digging Deeper extensions for increased depth of knowledge & critical thinking skills (Ecological Niches & Animal Relationships), 1 Data Analysis extension for math practice (Energy Pyramid)
  • 2 concept maps to summarize content (guided and blank provided)
  • 1 online quiz through Google Forms for automatic grading
  • 20 editable task cards for a quick and easy unit review
  • Editable unit test with multiple-choice and short-answer questions (in both honors and regular versions)
  • Supplementary Resource Ideas: links and videos for additional explanation or exploration
  • Answer keys for all student pages


What topics are included in this unit?

4 Spheres of the Earth

  • Hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere
  • Interactions between spheres

Basics of Ecology

  • Biotic v. abiotic factors
  • Organization of living things (organism, population, community, ecosystem, biome, biosphere)
  • Habitat v. niche

Organism Relationships

  • Herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, producers, scavengers, decomposers
  • Food chains v. food webs
  • Energy pyramid and trophic levels
  • Conservation of energy and First Law of Thermodynamics
  • Symbiotic relationships (mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, predation)
  • Prey adaptations

The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at [email protected].

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-LS1-5, HS-LS1-6, HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-4, HS-LS2-8, HS-ESS2-2. Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.


*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*

What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 1.1 Introduction to Ecosystems
  • 1.9 Trophic Levels
  • 1.10 Energy Flow and the 10% Rule
  • 1.11 Food Chains and Food Webs
  • 2.4 Ecological Tolerance
  • 2.6 Adaptations

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


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