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Energy in the Web of Life

Grades 3 - 5

The Sun is the main source of energy used by nearly all living things on Earth. In the blink of an eye, the chameleon's sticky tongue snags the dragonfly. Yum! Guide students through an exciting exploration of the flow of energy through feeding relationships wrapped up in 5E lesson plans where students investigate through active learning, then apply their new knowledge to find out how invasive species disrupt this flow of energy.

Leveled Readers are available in four Lexile Measures, distinguished by a color key on the back of each reader.

Lexile Levels
Lexile Measure Range 900-1050
Lexile Measure Range 750-900
Lexile Measure Range 600-750
Lexile Measure Range 450-600

Driving Question

How do Pacific lionfish affect energy flow in other living things in Atlantic Ocean ecosystems?

Anchor Phenomenon

Invasive species change the flow of energy in an ecosystem.

  Investigative Phenomena
–Focus Questions
Real-World Phenomena
Lesson 1
The Sun's Energy
Focus Question What happens to energy from the Sun that reaches Earth? Real-World Phenomena
  • Sunlight is the ultimate source of energy in most of Earth's ecosystems.
Lesson 2
Plants and the Sun's Energy
Focus Question How do plants use the Sun's energy? Real-World Phenomena
  • Plants use sunlight to convert air and water into sugars, which they use to grow larger.
Lesson 3
Focus Question What features do animals have for eating different types of food? Real-World Phenomena
  • Adaptations allow animals to feed in various ways.
Lesson 4
Focus Question What is the role of decomposers in an ecosystem? Real-World Phenomena
  • Decomposers play a key role in recycling matter and nutrients in an ecosystem.
Lesson 5
Food Chains
Focus Question How does energy flow from one organism to another? Real-World Phenomena
  • Energy flows through an ecosystem from the Sun to producers and through consumers and decomposers.
Lesson 6
Predator-Prey Relationships
Focus Question How do predators and prey affect the numbers of organisms in an ecosystem? Real-World Phenomena
  • Predator and prey populations are interrelated.
Lesson 7
Food Webs
Focus Question How are food chains connected in ecosystems? Real-World Phenomena
  • Food chains in an ecosystem are interconnected, forming food webs.
Lesson 8
Invasive Species
Focus Question How can an invasive species affect a food web? Real-World Phenomena
  • Invasive organisms can alter the flow of energy through food webs.