Resources needed:

  • Animal pictures
  • One per child
  • Producer cards
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Paper
  • String
  • Glue.



  1. Give the children a picture of an animal each and let them group themselves in any way they choose – they may decide, for example, to group all the four legged creatures together. Repeat this activity, asking the children to group themselves in a different way this time (for example animals which have horns or those which have feathers)
  2. Now ask the children to group themselves according to what the animals eat. Use the terms herbivore, carnivore and omnivore. Correct any incorrect groupings where necessary.
  3. Now ask the children to arrange themselves into some food chains. Give out some of the producer cards and give an example of a simple food chain such as plant > slug > blackbird > cat. Line up the children and use terms such as ‘producer’, ‘primary consumer’ and ‘secondary consumer’ to describe each stage in the chain.

Teaching point: Some children might be confused over terms such as prey/predator and producer/consumer. The food chain should technically be labelled with the latter rather than the former unless the terms are being used about creatures within their habitats or when learning about rises or declines in particular populations.

  1. Let the children make their own food chains by sticking pictures of animals to cardboard tubes and threading them onto string. They should begin each chain with a producer and the chain should contain at least two consumers.


Further Activities:

Ask the children to link some of their food chains to make food webs, noting where consumers are part of separate chains. Where do humans come? Don’t forget to talk about the sun’s energy providing the starting point for the producer in each chain.

Make a food chain glossary which explains all the terms used in this topic.

Ask the children to make simple 4 or 5 page booklets which begin with a producer and end with a consumer. Turning each page shows the progression and transference of energy along the food chain.


Curriculum Areas covered:

During years 3 and 4, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
  • setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
  • making systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, taking accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment, including thermometers and data loggers
  • gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
  • recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
  • reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
  • using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
  • identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
  • using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings. (Y3)Pupils should be taught to:
  • identify that animals, including humans, need the right types and amount of nutrition, and that they cannot make their own food; they get nutrition from what they eat

(Y4) Pupils should be taught to:

  • construct and interpret a variety of food chains, identifying producers, predators and prey