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Classroom Resources

Meal Deal

Teacher's Guide

Introduction and Standards

In this interactive, students play a card game that simulates food chains that exist within the Chesapeake Bay ecosystems. In doing so, they learn about the interconnectedness of the various creatures living in the Bay. Finally, they extrapolate their knowledge to answer the questions: Are all creatures in the Bay equally important? What difference does it make if one organism disappears from the ecosystem? And what difference does it make if an invasive species enters the food chain?

Standards Addressed

3.0 Life Sciences

Grade 4
F. Ecology

  1. Explain ways that individuals and groups of organisms interact with each other and their environment.
    1. Identify and describe the interactions of organisms present in a habitat.
      • Competition for space, food, and water
      • Beneficial interactions: nesting, pollination, seed dispersal
      • Roles within food chains and webs: scavengers, decomposers, etc.
    2. Explain that changes in an organism’s habitat are sometimes beneficial to it and sometimes harmful.

Grade 6

  1. Give reasons supporting the fact that the number of organisms an environment can support depends on the physical conditions and resources available.
    1. Explain that populations increase or decrease relative to the availability of resources and the conditions of the environment.
    2. Identify and describe factors that could limit populations within any environment, such as disease, introduction of a nonnative species, depletion of resources, etc.
    3. Explain that within any environment organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for resources.
    4. Cite examples to illustrate that competition is reduced when organisms use different sets of resources, such as birds in a forest eat different kinds and sizes of seeds.


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