KS3 Science BIOLOGY
Unit 7C Environment and feeding
& feeding relationships"
What the Quiz is based on - original work schemes -
programmes of study
All of KS3 Science is now under review
and the quizzes will
be adapted to suit the NEW National Curriculum for KS3 Science
Chemistry Q's *
Integrated Science Q's
In this unit pupils learn:
plants and animals are adapted to live in a particular habitat
plants and animals interact with their environment and with each other,
including feeding relationships
adaptations for feeding
• how to
link food chains to make webs
In scientific enquiry pupils:
the importance of sample size
measurements of environmental changes and interpret these
the variety of living things within a habitat
the activity of a small invertebrate, taking into account variables they cannot
This unit is expected to take approximately 8
This unit draws on ideas developed in the key
stage 2 programme of study. It builds on unit 4B ‘Habitats’ and unit 6A
‘Interdependence and adaptation’ in the key stage 2 scheme of work.
Together, this unit and unit 6A
‘Interdependence and adaptation’ in the key stage 2 scheme of work could be
used as a bridging unit.
The unit provides a foundation for unit 8D
‘Ecological relationships’ and for unit 9A ‘Inheritance and selection’.
The energy transfer ideas of unit 7I ‘Energy
resources’ are used in considering feeding relationships between organisms. If
this unit is covered before unit 7I ‘Energy resources’, then the treatment can
be restricted to using the label ‘energy’ for what is transferred. If unit 7I
‘Energy resources’ is covered first, then links can be made to the burning of
fuels and foods and the Sun as the energy resource for plants.
There are opportunities for pupils to make
presentations about, and take measurements in, the environment. This links with
unit 3 ‘Processing text and images’ and unit 7 ‘Measuring physical data’ in the
ICT scheme of work.
At the end of this unit
in terms of scientific enquiry
most pupils will: make
a series of measurements of environmental variables appropriate to the task;
identify a question to investigate about the activity of an invertebrate,
suggesting a suitable approach and sample size; use their results to relate
animal and plant activity to environmental changes
some pupils will not have made so much progress and will: make measurements of environmental variables
appropriate to the task and make suggestions about investigating the activity
of an invertebrate
some pupils will have progressed further and will: describe, in terms of approach and sample
size, how strongly any patterns or associations identified are supported by the
in terms of life processes and living things
most pupils will:
identify differences between different habitats and relate these to the
organisms found in them; describe ways in which organisms are adapted to daily
or seasonal changes in their environment and to their mode of feeding; describe
food chains within an environment and combine these into food webs
some pupils will not have made so much progress and will: identify differences between different
habitats and describe how familiar organisms are suited to the habitat in which
they are found; describe some simple food chains
some pupils will have progressed further and will:
explain why a variety of habitats is needed in
a community; describe how different organisms contribute to the community in
which they are found and relate food chains to energy transfer
It is helpful if pupils:
that different habitats support different plants and animals and have
identified ways in which plants and animals in a particular habitat depend on
explored local habitats to establish the variety of living organisms within
that some animals feed on other animals and some feed on plants
are required for any hazardous activity. In this unit pupils:
• plan and carry out their own investigation
• collect and handle small invertebrates
• work in an outside environment
have specific guidance on fieldwork. Model risk assessments used by most
employers for normal science activities can be found in the publications listed
in the Teacher’s guide. Teachers need
to follow these as indicated in the guidance notes for the activities, and
consider what modifications are needed for individual classroom situations.
Through the activities in this unit pupils will
be able to understand, use and spell correctly:
and phrases relating to feeding,
predator, prey, food web
and phrases relating to seasonal changes,
migration, hibernation, overwintering, dormant, insulation, climatic stress
and phrases describing environmental conditions, eg light intensity, availability of oxygen
with different meanings in scientific and everyday contexts, eg producer, consumer
with similar but distinct meanings,
carnivore and predator
relating to scientific enquiry,
temperature sensor, sample size, reliable data
activities pupils could:
sequence and link what they say so listeners can follow it
information from secondary sources using contents, index, glossary, key words
ideas within sentences using links of cause (so, because, since)
and software for temperature, oxygen, light, pH measurement
sources, eg photographs, video clips,
preserved and live specimens, showing predators and prey
showing the range of organisms found in a variety of habitats
sources providing information about how animals deal with seasonal changes in
sources showing how some plants, eg
holly, nettles, bracken, have defence mechanisms
software illustrating changes in populations
sources, eg CD-ROMs, videos,
illustrating diets of animals
• visit other habitats, eg nature reserves, nocturnal houses in zoos and nature centres
• find out about the feeding requirements of a
variety of species of animal
• attend evening or early morning activities,
eg bat watching, snake spotting, moth
spotting and listening to the dawn chorus run by country parks, waterways and
• watch wildlife programmes on video and
television, read accounts of life in a habitat supporting different plants and
• look for plants and animals in their immediate
eg on the way to and from
• find out about wildlife conservation projects
or ecology centres in their locality
• search the internet for information about
habitats and feeding relationships using key words, eg zoo, food chain, habitat
How does the
environment influence the animals and plants living in a habitat?
different habitats have different features
different habitats support different organisms
the distribution of organisms in different habitats is affected by
eg light, nutrients or water
• to organise, sequence and link what they
say so listeners can follow it
pupils about environments or habitats they studied at key stage 2 and explain
that in the first part of the work in this unit they are going to look at
features of habitats.
pupils with stimulus material, eg video
of the Arctic, poster of woodland life, picture of cacti in a desert,
underwater scene, worms in a wormery. Ask the pupils to describe the
physical features of each habitat and identify major environmental factors, eg light intensity, oxygen availability,
• With pupils, decide on a limited list of
animal and plant species for each habitat. Remind pupils of the importance of
making sure listeners can follow their argument, and ask them, in groups, to
use secondary sources to investigate how species are adapted to life in one
habitat and to present their findings, eg
orally, using overhead transparencies (OHTs) or flip charts.
• identify features, eg light, temperature range, which are different in different
• describe adaptations to life in a variety of
habitats such as:
eg streamlined shapes help
animals move through the water, water plants float or have long stems to
reach surface waters
underground, eg streamlined shapes,
adaptations for tunnelling, poor sight but good senses of smell and vibration
woodland, eg colour vision, climbing
plants and camouflage, early growth and flowering before the canopy develops
• pick out appropriate adaptations and explain
clearly their significance
• make an oral group presentation of their
activity is intended to help teachers find out what pupils know about
habitats and how organisms are adapted to them. Teachers will need to take
this into account in later work.
may need help to stay focused on the question of adaptations to the habitat
and help in selecting appropriate material from a large quantity of general
information on the lives of particular plants and animals.
unit includes work on seasonal changes. It is useful to have a log of species
sighted in the school and its surroundings. If possible, encourage pupils to
note vegetation and other changes in the school environment over the academic
• Extension: pupils could explore a wider
variety of habitats through
an interactive field trip,
some animals are adapted to daily changes in their habitat
to measure and record changes in environmental factors
• how to interpret patterns in data
pupils to predict how physical environmental factors around the school, eg light intensity, temperature, humidity,
noise levels, would change over a 24-hour period and how they could
measure the changes. With pupils, set up instruments, eg datalogging equipment with a light probe, automatic weather
station, temperature and sound sensors, to monitor changes. Provide
pupils with data about environmental changes around the school over a 24-hour
period and help them to describe what these show and to identify links
between the different changes.
• Ask pupils to suggest how the population of
plants and animals in the school habitat would change over the same time, eg crows and starlings visiting dustbins
in daylight, squirrels visiting after school finishes, foxes after dark;
slugs, cats, mice, bats active at night. Using their ideas, secondary
sources and first-hand observation where possible, help pupils to generate
comparative lists of animals active during the day, at dawn and dusk and
those which are nocturnal.
• describe changes in physical environmental
factors, eg temperature, light
intensity, over a 24-hour period
• interpret data about daily changes and
explain in simple terms, eg beginning
to get dark
• relate changes in variables, eg light and temperature, to each
• relate plant and animal activity to
is an opportunity to use
datalogging equipment. Secondary sources, eg
newspapers, Ceefax and geography weather stations, could be used to
near the coast and by tidal rivers have an opportunity to focus on
adaptations to changes in these habitats.
• Schools with CCTV may be able to monitor
animal activity at night.
to frame a question to be investigated
to decide what factors are relevant to a question
the importance of sample size
• to consider results in relation to the sample
observations of small invertebrates in the school grounds or elsewhere, ask
pupils to generate a suitable question about how the activity of an
invertebrate, eg woodlice, snails,
brine shrimps, daphnia, varies with environmental changes, eg dampness, light/dark, and to plan
and carry out an investigation.
• Help pupils to produce an account of what
they did, focusing on the size of sample they used, the factors they could
and could not control and how confident they were in their results.
• identify a suitable question for
• identify and control relevant variables
• choose an appropriate way of obtaining an
• explain why they are, or are not, confident
in their results, eg 18 out of 20 times
the snails went to the damp, I think this is sufficient; we only used 6
woodlice and 4 of them chose the dark, I think we need to use more than 6
woodlice to be sure
pupils could find out about adaptations to daily changes in two or three
plant or animal species.
any animals are brought into the classroom, ensure that they are treated
carefully and that they are returned to the habitat from which they came as
soon as possible.
– teachers will need to check pupils’ plans for health and safety
before practical work begins
hands after handling animals. Particular pupils may have allergies and these
should be appropriately taken into account. Wipe benches with disinfectant
environments vary? (Cont.)
some animals are adapted to seasonal changes in their habitats
• that adaptations may be to avoid climatic
pupils with overwintering structures or photographs or video clips of these
as stimulus material, eg onion bulb,
pupa, twig with buds, carrot, plastic bag of hair from a moulting pet.
Ask pupils to suggest when they would normally be found and their function.
Show videos of habitats at different times of the year and ask pupils to
identify differences and describe the consequences of these for the organisms
in the habitat. Ask pupils to describe from their own knowledge how plants in
the school habitat change over the year and predict the likely effects of the
changes on the animals in the locality.
• Provide pupils with key words and phrases, eg migration, hibernation, overwintering
of pupae, dormant structures, making food stores, thicker insulation, and
ask pupils to use secondary sources to find out about these and how they help
animals avoid climatic stress. Ask pupils to describe what they found out and
help them to contribute to a summary sheet about seasonal changes.
• identify ways in which habitats vary through
• describe some strategies which plants and
animals adopt to avoid climatic stress
may be useful to have data about temperature ranges and daylight hours in the
locality of the school to support this work.
• Some dormant twigs can be frozen
successfully for use at other times of year. Ash trees are usually among the
last to come into leaf.
• to summarise and make connections between
key ideas about adaptation to a habitat
• Provide pupils with a list of adaptive
animal and plant characteristics and ask them to decide on the six most
important for a particular habitat. Ask them to explain their choices and ask
others to evaluate these critically, identifying the advantages the
adaptation gives the organism. Help pupils to use the results of the work to
make generalisations about adaptation.
• identify adaptations for particular habitats
• explain the advantages adaptations give an
What is a feeding
animals have features which are adaptations against predators
animals are adapted to their particular food source
• to collect sufficient data to reduce error
and obtain reliable evidence
pupils’ knowledge of predators and prey by providing stimulus material, eg posters, photos, pictures, video clips,
preserved and live specimens, of predatory animals and prey species, eg eagle, dog, pike, bat, spider, rabbit,
antelope, snail, and asking pupils to describe how the predators are
adapted for finding, catching and killing their prey and how prey species are
adapted for detecting and avoiding predators. Help pupils construct tables of
general features of predators and prey,
predators may have eyes forward, acute vision and sense of smell, sharp
claws/talons/beaks for piercing and tearing, may ambush or hunt by stealth,
whereas prey may have eyes at the side, acute hearing and sense of smell, be
easily startled, be nocturnal, camouflaged.
• Ask pupils to investigate the effect of
beak shape in seed-eating birds, eg by
using blunt and fine-pointed forceps to pick up and transfer seeds of varying
sizes from a dish in one minute. Discuss with pupils how much data they
need to gather for reliable conclusions.
• identify predators and prey from information
about commonly encountered animals
• identify features of predators, eg a hooked beak, sharp claws, acute
vision, ability to trap prey
• identify features of prey animals, eg camouflage, acute senses, armour, speed
• state how many observations they made and
explain why this was appropriate
centres, botanical gardens and zoological collections may have outreach
teachers who can bring a selection of plants and animals into schools to
illustrate adaptations to habitat and food source. In addition, they often
have education programmes to support visits to their establishments.
pupils could use dough coloured with food dyes, or red and green wool,
distributed on a marked-off stretch of grass to investigate the effectiveness
hands after handling animals. Particular pupils may have allergies and these
should be taken into account. Wipe benches with disinfectant
What is a feeding
characteristics of predator and prey species
join ideas within sentences using links of cause, eg so, because, since
all the organisms in a habitat can be linked together in food webs
food webs are made up of a number of food chains which start with plants
• that arrows in a food chain represent
by quick questions pupils’ understanding from work in key stage 2 of terms
related to food chains, eg producer,
pupils with stimulus material, eg a
habitat poster such as meadowland or woodland, and challenge them to make
as many food chains as they can. Ask them to identify producers, consumers,
herbivores and carnivores. Explain the direction of the arrows in the food
chain and relate to energy transfer, with the Sun as the ultimate source of
energy. Ask pupils to write a sentence about each food chain, using links of
cause, eg so, because, since.
pupils to find examples of animals that occur in more than one food chain and
to explain what this shows about their food sources. Show pupils a food web
and explain that it is a more accurate representation of feeding
pupils use the food chains they have generated to construct a food web for
display. Provide pupils with secondary data so they can practise identifying
food chains within a food web and constructing food webs from food chains.
• Establish with pupils that food webs, food
chains and terms, eg predator and prey are ways of describing feeding
• sort organisms into a food chain
• explain what is meant by, and identify,
carnivore, herbivore, consumer, producer
• identify food chains within food webs and
describe what a food web shows
• explain the direction of arrows in a food
eg energy from the leaves passes to the
unit 7I ‘Energy resources’, the idea that food chains show energy transfer is
chains may also start with bacteria or fungi. However, at this stage it is
acceptable for pupils to be taught that food chains begin with plants.
do not need to be familiar with the term ‘trophic level’ at this stage.
• Extension: pupils could be asked to find
out about different predators and prey and produce an account of how one of
each is adapted.
What do food webs
make careful observations of plants and animals and sources of evidence about
link organisms together in food webs
some plants have adaptations to deter animals from feeding on them
• to interpret evidence about food sources
and draw conclusions from it
pupils to suggest likely places to find plants and animals in the locality of
the school, what species they think they might find and how the plants and
animals might be linked in food webs. Encourage pupils to consider what
evidence we use to find out what animals eat, eg owl pellets, remains near lairs and nests, thrush anvils,
observations, teeth marks, bird droppings showing coloured berries have been
pupils how to use simple equipment and techniques, eg direct observation, pooters, tree beating, and ask them to
find, identify and record as many species of plants and animals as possible
within the school locality.
pupils to record any observations which help to identify a food source, eg a greenfly found on a rose bush,
woodlice found under decaying wood, fly entangled in a spider’s web, and
to note plant features which may deter animals from feeding on them, eg prickles on holly, thistles, sting on
nettles. If appropriate, extend this work using secondary sources.
• Help the pupils to use the information
gathered to construct a database using a data-handling programme.
• identify plants and animals found in the
• state that a wide variety of organisms is
found in quite small habitats
• describe and explain what might provide
evidence about animals’ food
• identify features of plants which may deter
animals from feeding on them
• interpret evidence about food sources, eg the bird droppings are purple, so they
could have eaten blackberries
exercise can be done in very
small-scale habitats, eg flower bed,
grass verge. It needs to be clear that the focus of the activities is
identification of food webs, because pupils may have visited an area local to
their school in key stage 2 to identify organisms, using keys, and to
identify food chains.
are likely to be familiar with using keys to identify living things from
their work at key stage 2. Some may need more practice.
is not necessary to quantify species at this stage, but it may be useful to
count the number of species identified and the number of individuals of
different feeding types for possible use in year 8.
any animals are brought into the classroom, ensure that they are treated with
respect, their needs are met and that they are returned to their habitat as
soon as possible.
– all off-site visits must be carried out in accordance with school/LEA
should wash their hands after handling animals and soil.
Particular pupils may have allergies and these should be taken into account.
Disinfect pooter mouthpieces
What do food webs
tell us? (Cont.)
all the organisms in a habitat can be linked together in food webs
• to find information using contents, index,
key words or hotlinks
pupils with secondary sources, eg
reference books, CD-ROMs, databases, to find information about the diet
of animals identified in the previous activity, and remind them how to use
the index, contents section, key words and hotlinks. Ask them to add the
information to the database. Ask them to use the information to construct
food chains using the species identified, and to describe what the food
chains show. Help the pupils to link their food chains together into a food
web. Challenge the pupils to explain any missing links, eg absence of carnivores, such as owls or hawks. Help pupils to
produce a display of their food web(s).
• use organisational features of text to
identify relevant information about the diet of animals
• place food chains within a food web
• describe how all the organisms in a habitat
can be linked together in food webs
• sequence a food chain
• recognise that arrows in a food web or food
chain show the direction of energy flow
may need reminding that food webs are the focus of the activity, as they may
have found out about the food source of a local animal in key stage 2.
• Pupils often have difficulty with the idea
that arrows in a food chain represent energy flow. This could be reinforced
• that factors influencing the number of
organisms in one part of a food web have an effect on other parts of the web
pupils to suggest where there is competition between species in the food web.
Reinforce their ideas by removing a plant species or adding two or more
consumers and ask the pupils to predict the consequences.
• Extend the work by asking pupils to use
food webs, eg those generated in
previous activities, to practise predicting the effects of altering the
numbers of various organisms in a web. Use ICT simulations to test out the
• predict the effects of altering the numbers
of an organism in one part of a food web
• recognise that organisms living in a habitat
compete with each other for food resources
• recognise the importance of plants as the
food source at the start of all food chains
• This activity provides opportunities to use
• that organisms in a habitat compete for
resources from the environment
a paper and wool model of a food web identified in the previous activity.
Remove one animal species from the web, eg
by cutting the strands of wool holding it in place. Ask the pupils what
will happen to the animals that feed on that species. Challenge pupils to
identify any other effects on the food web.
• Extend by providing pupils with a food web
in which at least one animal is a seasonal visitor and asking them to
identify differences in the food web in other seasons.
• predict and explain the consequences of
changes in the organisms making up a food web
the food webs generated earlier are very complex, it may be better to
simplify them for this activity.
• As an alternative, pupils could be given
copies of a food web generated earlier, with an animal blanked out.
content copyright © Dr W P Brown 2000-2012 All rights reserved
revision notes, puzzles, quizzes, worksheets, x-words etc. * Copying of website
material is not permitted * I do not personally endorse the adverts -
but they do pay for the site!
Alphabetical Index for Science
B C D
G H I J K L M
N O P
U V W
X Y Z