The seas and oceans represent the largest environment for life on Earth, covering three-quarters of the planet’s surface. The marine environment encompasses not only water but also the living organisms within it. They are interconnected through various dependents, such as their feeding habits, which can be organized into food chains.
Let’s take a closer look at one of these food chains, specifically focusing on the relationships within the upper part of the continental shelf, which is a shallow area located near the coast.
- The first link in this food chain is the phytoplankton, which are plants capable of producing their own nutrients.
- The second link consists of zooplankton, which are small animal organisms such as copepods (a type of crustacean), foraminifera, radiolarians, and pteropods.
- The next link includes small carnivorous organisms that actively hunt for their food, such as herrings.
- The chain is completed by larger predators like sharks, seals, and most octopuses.
During the physical activity game, there is an opportunity to embody representatives of each “link” in the marine food chain. The winner is the one who first reaches the form of the final link.
Goal: Introducing children to the food chain in the marine ecosystem.
Time: 15 minutes
marine food chain. attachment 4.1
The course of the task
Teacher presents a scheme of the food web in a marine ecosystem and explains how each subsequent level is dependent on the previous ones. The knowledge is reinforced through a game based on the rules of “rock, paper, scissors” (German: Schnik, schnak, schnuk), with the addition of three behavioral levels.
Everyone starts at the level of zooplankton (we omit phytoplankton, as only some of its representatives can move independently). The “zooplankton” move on all fours across the room and look for a partner to play “rock, paper, scissors” gestures. The person who wins the round moves up to a higher trophic level, becoming a “herring” and starts moving smoothly across the room as if floating in water. They look for another “herring” to play another round of “rock, paper, scissors” gestures. When a “herring” wins, they become a “seal”. The person who loses in a given round remains at the same trophic level. We continue playing until the first seal appears or as long as the participants are willing to continue the game.
This post was produced as part of a project co-financed by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt in cooperation with the Naturschutzzentrum Oberlausitzer Bergland.