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Saturday, March 9, 2013


5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).
Last year, I purchased the "Follow That Food Chain" series.  These non-fiction adventure books are set up like a game.  Students begin by reading the introduction and then choosing a tertiary consumer from the ecosystem featured in each book.  From there, they read about the animal and continue to make choices that result in either survival and continuation along the food chain (which really becomes more of a food web) or a "dead end".

Although my students can learn plenty from reading and interacting with this book, I was looking for a way to document their learning.  I decided to create a guided reading focus sheet for this purpose.  You can get a copy of it here.  Basically, students record the tertiary animal they chose. Then they read and respond with 3 facts they learned about the animal.  Next they record the page they chose to go to and why.  For example, in the Australian Outback Food Chain book, students might begin with the dingo and choose their dinner the night before as being a northern quoll which leads to page 44.  Students continue to read and respond to the next guided reading prompt.  Prompts include summarizing a paragraph, writing a question and answer based on a page, naming a problem faced by the animal, explaining an adaptation this animal has made for survival, and ultimately a summary of the ecosystem.

Need more ideas?
 Lerner Publishing Group has some great ideas in their teacher guide.

What?  You don't have these books?  May I suggest you write a DonorsChoose proposal to fund the purchase.  You won't regret it!  If you decide to go that route, let me know by leaving me a message in the comments section.  Most of the time I have a gift card that could jumpstart your proposal and help it to be funded more quickly.

Already have the books?  Leave me a message about ways you have used these books.



  1. Mrs Kaiser,

    These are some wonderful materials and ideas used to teach food chains. Unfortunately, I do not own these books. I would love to start a DonorsChoose account. Thank you!

  2. Angie,
    The books are really fun! If you decide to use DonorsChoose to get them, post a link to your project here and I will help you out.

    1. I appreciate your help! I have submitted my project and will post the link after it has been approved/reviewed.

  3. Wow Angie! That was fast. Can't wait to see the live proposal so I can get you one step closer to these fun books. Keep me posted. ;)

  4. I love this idea! Do you have a set of each title or just one copy of each? I teach two science classes and was curious as to how many copies I would need. I would definitely need to get funding!

    Judy L

  5. Hi Judy! I have only one of each title. I teach a total of 45 students but we have them broken into 3 groups this year. I have 15 students at a time. Depending on the needs of the group I have done two things. Either I let them work together with one book shared between 2 or 3 students or I have 6 students work independently with the book while I meet with the rest of the class and work on a hands-on activity. If you want the entire class to work independently, you'll definitely need to get sets of each book. Hope that helps.


  6. Hi Heather, my link for the live proposal is below. I had to add atleast $100 of materials in order for it to go through so I requested 3 of each title. I also received an email which said "For the next 7 days, when someone donates to your project and enters the code INSPIRE, we'll match their donation dollar for dollar." How exciting! Thanks for your time an help!

  7. Angie,
    I gave $50 to get you started but it was a gift card so I can't use the code. I posted it on facebook for you though, so maybe that will help too.
    Good luck!