Energy Flow & Food Chains & Dinosaur Activity {to go with Magic Tree House Book 1}

Energy flow and food chains are important science topics for elementary aged children to learn, so I am super excited to share this dinosaur activity set that you can use to teach or reinforce these topics!

This week is the first week in our elementary level virtual book club! We are reading the Magic Tree House series books (click HERE for more information and a free "passport"), and today we are starting with the first book: Dinosaurs Before Dark!

Learning about food chains and energy flow can be loads of fun when you use a fun food chain to do it with, so I decided to use some of the animals in the book to reinforce these ideas!

My kids already have a pretty good concept of food chains, but I wanted to make sure we explicitly cover it so that I know there are no missing gaps! Here are a few important concepts that I wanted to be sure they understood:

* Energy flows from the sun, to producers (who usually do photosynthesis) to consumers.
* Energy for all the ecosystems they can see comes from the sun.
* Producers change light energy from the sun to chemical energy stored in sugars.
* Consumers (and producers) use the chemical energy in plants as energy in their bodies.
* Consumers must consume either plants or animals to get their energy.
* Herbivores eat plants.
* Carnivores eat other animals.
* In a food chain, the arrows show the flow of energy. Therefore, they point at the animal who is "doing" the eating.
* A food chain shows the flow of energy from a producer to a primary consumer (herbivore) to a secondary consumer (carnivore), and sometimes to a tertiary consumer (a carnivore who eats the last carnivore).

In Dinosaurs before Dark, a Tyrannosaurus chases an Anatosaurus. I had a horrible time finding clipart for an Anatosaurus, so I decided to use Triceratops in this activity. We know Tyrannosaurus Rex ate Triceratops because we have 1- Triceratops bones with Tyrannosaurus teeth marks on them and 2- bits of Tyrannosaurus teeth stuck inside Triceratops! 

Triceratops probably ate ferns and fruit, so I included a fern drawing in the set. 

When you ask your kiddo to make a food chain, you will want to see an arrow going from the sun to the fern, another arrow going from the fern to the Triceratops, and a final arrow going from Triceratops to T. Rex.

The other food chain should follow this path: sun to algae to fish (optional: to bigger fish) to Pteranodon.  

I hope you love this set!

Are you joining us for the virtual book club? If so, let me know what you're doing to learn about dinosaurs!

I'll add some more dino links for elementary kids here soon!

And if you're looking for more homeschool unit studies, be sure to check out our growing collection here!

Happy Educating,
Carla & the kids who don't sit still!