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Big Idea
Food is produced by photosynthetic organisms and that food energy moves from one trophic level to another through feeding relationships.
Sustaining life requires substantial energy and matter inputs.  As matter and energy flow through different organizational levels of living systems, chemical elements are recombined in different ways to form different products.  In most cases, the energy needed for life is ultimately derived from the sun through photosynthesis.  Plants, algae, and other energy-fixing organisms use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to facilitate photosynthesis which stores energy, forms plant matter, releases oxygen, and maintains plants' activities.  Plants and algae are energy-fixing organisms that sustain the rest of the food web (A Framework for K-12 Science Education LS1.C).
Essential Questions
How does your body get the energy to do what you want it to do?
How is food energy produced?
How do organisms use energy?
How does energy move through the food web?

Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis.
Explain how organisms obtain and use resources to develop and thrive in
  • niches
  • predator/prey relationships
Analyze the interactions of living organisms with their ecosystems
  • limiting factors
  • carrying capacity
Compare food chains in a specified ecosystem and their corresponding food web.
Students will follow all lab safety procedures while burning food to determine the calories in the food. Create a representation of the 10% rule.
Science & Engineering Practices
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations:  students burn snacks
Analyzing and Interpreting Data: students analyze the results of a lab experiment
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Developing and Using Models:  students use beads for a visual representation of trophic levels
Content/Core Ideas
Explain how organisms get the energy they need for life. Discuss how photosynthesis makes energy available to organisms. Describe how energy moves from one trophic level to another in an ecosystem. Describe how every activity undertaken by living organisms involves expenditure of energy.
  • Food is energy-rich organic matter that organisms need to conduct their life processes.
  • Energy in food is measured in kilocalories.
  • Photosynthesis is the process by which energy-rich molecules are made from water, carbon dioxide, and light.
  • Feeding relationships define trophic levels: producers, consumers, decomposers.
Crosscutting Concepts
Energy and matter:  flows, cycles, and conservation.
Learning Practices
CC:7.W.2  quick-write on energy
CC:7.RI.1  read Where does Food Come From?
CC:7.SL.4 students work in groups to categorize energy-use and provide evidencec and reasoning
Academic Vocabulary
photosynthesis, carbohydrates, food, producers, consumers, herbivores, primary consumers, carnivores, secondary consumers, tertiary consumers, trophic levels, gross production, biomass, net production, omnivores, detritus, detritivore, kilocalorie, food calorie
  • food
  • energy
  • calories
  • kilocalories
  • food calories or Calories
  • experimental error
  • herbivores
  • carnivores
  • omnivores
  • detritus
  • detritivore
  • photosynthesis
  • carbohydrate
  • energy
  • trophic levels
  • 10% rule
  • biomass
Mid-summative 5
Measuring Food Energy
Food-producers Experiment