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  Lesson Plans
Who's Coming to Dinner?

Dory Marcus
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 3-5 forty-minute class periods


Who's coming to dinner in your environmental neighborhood? Who will be the predator and who will be the prey? The often precarious balance in the food chain is affected by human intervention in both positive and negative ways. Using video and interactive Internet resources, students will explore examples of environmental balance in surprising places, even in their own city. Through collaborative research and problem solving, students will attempt to isolate the risks that endanger species and identify the role humans, including students, can play to protect the environment.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Identify the role predators and prey play in food chains
  • Differentiate between food chains and food webs
  • Identify factors that affect the balance in food webs including both the positive and negative effects of human intervention
  • Work collaboratively to research endangered species and propose solutions to protect their environment and insure their survival


National Science Education Standards

As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and understandings about scientific inquiry.

As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of structure and function in living systems, reproduction and heredity, regulation and behavior, populations and ecosystems, and diversity and adaptations of organisms.

As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of personal health, populations, resources, and environments, natural hazards, risks and benefits, and science and technology in society.


As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of science as a human endeavor, the nature of science, and the history of science.

Media Components


Wild TV #2: The Animals We Live With
The clip students will view explores the relationship between two inhabitants of Jamaica Bay, diamondback terrapins and raccoons.

Web sites:

Chain Reaction
This interactive site explains and illustrates the food chain, the dependencies, and the environmental effects and importance of each member of the chain. This site requires the Shockwave plug-in.

EE Link - Endangered Species
This site provides a list of endangered species by region and state. The "Related Pages" links include leading organizations, species recovery programs, and zoo-based programs that may provide additional resources.

ESpecies Factsheets
ESpecies provides electronic fact sheets on over 50 endangered species, organized by continent and listed by animal.

The Wild Ones Animal Index
This Web site has articles about animals, their habits, habitat, threats to survival, and the work being done on the animal's behalf. Categories are organized by both habitat and animal classification. The site includes information, photos, sound clips, and artwork.

Kids Corner, Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This site provides numerous links including how many, and which, species are listed the U.S. as threatened or endangered, and in which states. May require more advanced reading skills and experience following links to gather information.

Endangered! Exploring a World At Risk
This American Museum of Natural History site provides a virtual tour of the museum's permanent exhibition hall devoted to the topic of biodiversity and includes resources about endangered habitats and species.

"There Was an Old Lady" (song lyrics)
These sites provide two versions of song lyrics to be used to introduce the lesson.


Mac/PC, Knowledge Adventure, Inc.
HyperStudio is a classroom multimedia authoring tool for both desktop and online multimedia communication.

Inspiration (grade 6 to adult)/Kidspiration (K- grade 5)
Mac/PC, Inspiration Software, Inc.
Inspiration and its junior version, Kidspiration, are visual learning tools that provides graphical ways of working with ideas and presenting information.

Mac/PC, Microsoft Corporation
With PowerPoint older students can create and organize presentations that include, graphics, animation, and sounds.


Per class:

  • "There Was an Old Lady" lyrics
Per team of three students:
  • Sheets of poster or large banner paper
  • Crayons and/or markers
  • Nature and wildlife magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks or other adhesive
  • Access to a computer, the Internet, and multimedia software
Per student:
  • Data Gathering Worksheet
  • Research Organizer