Lesson #5: Consumers
Now that students understand the process of photosynthesis, the unique plants process that converts sunlight, water, and CO2 into O2 and sugars, they’ll learn how this process places plants in a vital role in the food chain. Plants are considered producers, because they produce food that can be utilized by other organisms, while animals are considered consumers, because they consume the energy and nutrients that have already been harvested by the sun and soil by plants (producers). Students will explore these concepts in a variety of activities including a venn diagram exercise, quiz cards, and a group brainstorm. After which, they’ll prepare and taste a pasta salad that combines both producer (veggies) and consumer (cheese) ingredients.
In biology, producers generate food for themselves and others; while consumers do not produce anything, instead eating producers. Consumers must eat other organisms for their food.
SWBAT differentiate between producers and consumers.
SCIENCE 9 (A) investigate that most producers need sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to make their own food, while consumers are dependent on other organisms for food;
- Wipe board
- Dry erase markers
- Producer and Consumer Quiz Cards, 1 set per pair of students
- Plastic baggies
- Scrap paper for brainstorm
- Cutting boards
- Green peas
- Red bell pepper
- Olive Oil
- Paper plates
Copy Producer and Consumer Quiz Cards, 1 set per pair of students, and cut into individual cards. Put each set into a plastic baggie.
Cook pasta for pasta salad.
Timeline (1 hour total):
5 min Photosynthesis Review
10 min Producers vs Consumers Venn Diagram
10 min Producer and Consumer Quiz Cards
10 min Local Foods Producers and Consumers Brainstorm
10 min Make it – Pasta Salad
10 min Taste it – Pasta Salad
5 min Clean-up
- Photosynthesis Review – Draw a plant on the board. Have students, one part of a time, explain the process of photosynthesis. As they say a step, draw the arrows and label that step on the board. Remember that photosynthesis starts with the sun, so the sun should be the first thing that you add to the diagram.
- Producers and Consumers Venn Diagram – Next, on another part of the board, draw a Venn diagram. Review what a Venn diagram is and how we can fill one out. Define producers and consumers and write these words on each circle in the Venn diagram. Use the diagram to explore their differences and similarities.
- Producers and Consumers Quiz Cards – Divide students into pairs. Give each pair a set of producer and consumer quiz cards. The students should sort these cards into two categories: producers and consumers. When the groups have finished, go through the cards as a class so they can check and correct their answers.
- Local Foods Producers and Consumers Brainstorm. Give students a piece of scrap paper (or baskets like the week before) to brainstorm all the consumer and producers that they think are local to Elgin. They should have a good list of fruits and vegetables based on last week’s brainstorm, and help them if they need to think of consumers (chickens, ducks, cows, pigs, goats, quail, turkeys, bees). As they brainstorm, they should mark each item with a P for producer or C for consumer. After the individual brainstorm session, make a master list as a class, addressing any misconceptions.
- Make It – Pasta Salad. Have students do the chopping in this recipe. Give each student a copy of the recipe.
8 ounce – macaroni pasta, dry
1/4 cup – broccoli, florets
1 medium – carrot
1/4 cup – green peas, frozen
1/4 cup – bell pepper, red
1 tablespoon – olive oil
1/4 cup – Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon – salt
1. Cook pasta according to package directions and thaw peas.
- Chop broccoli into bite size pieces; peel and chop carrot, chop red bell pepper.
- Optional: Steam the broccoli.
- Drain the pasta and broccoli. Toss together with the carrots, peas, and bell pepper. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, sprinkle with cheese and serve warm.
Note: You can also sauté the broccoli on an electric skillet in the classroom. This recipe might need to be doubled or tripled based on the number of students in your class.
- Taste It – Salad. Serve each student a small portion of pasta salad on a plate with a fork. Tell the students that some consumers eat only plants (name examples from the dish) and some eat animal products (like the cheese). Some eat both, like humans!
- Clean-Up – Students will return the classroom to its previous state, including washing cutting boards and knives, and wiping down tables and floors as necessary.
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