EdPlace's Key Stage 1 Home Learning Science Lesson: Food Chains

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Get them started on the lesson below and then jump into our teacher-created activities to practice what they've learnt. We've recommended five to ensure they feel secure in their knowledge - 5-a-day helps keeps the learning loss at bay (or so we think!).

Are they keen to start practising straight away? Head to the bottom of the page to find the activities. 

Now...onto the lesson!


Key Stage 1 Statutory Requirements for Science
Key Stage 1 students should be able to describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.


What is a Food Chain and Can I Identify the Sources of Food?  

Perhaps by using previous EdPlace 5-step guides, you and your child have cracked habitats and the type of plants and animals that live in different environments. The next challenge is to understand food chains and how living things are linked through a food chain. 

As part of the science curriculum, your child will learn the role different animals play in a food chain, depending on what they eat. Students will use this knowledge to place animals in the correct position in a food chain and create their own food chains

We're confident that if you follow the step-by-step guide below your child will be able to:

1) Understand how animals and plants obtain their food using a simple food chain
2) Identify the different types of consumer in the food chain

3) Explain what would happen is one level of the food chain were removed


Step 1: Important Language

Before we get going, it's crucial to check your child understands the important language we will use for our lesson objective. Once your child understands what the following terms mean, they will begin to position each animal in the food chain.

Carnivore: an animal that eats other animals.

Consumer: an animal that consumers other plants or animals. Consumers can be herbivores, carnivores or omnivores.

Herbivore: an animal that has a diet of mainly grass or plants.

Omnivore: an animal that will feed on plants or other animals.

Predator: an animal that hunts and kills other animals to eat, also known as a carnivore.

Prey: an animal that is caught and killed by other animals to be eaten as food.

Producers: an organism that can make its own food. Plants are producers as they make their own food through the process of photosynthesis.


Step 2: 7 Key Ideas to Understand the Food Chain

To tackle this lesson, your child needs to understand these 7 key ideas:

1) Think of a food chain as the transfer of energy from one animal or plant to another.

2) A food chain will show us how a living thing gets its energy.

3) Every single living thing on our planet needs energy to live and grow.

4) A food chain will usually begin with a plant because they are producers and are able to create their own food using photosynthesis!

5) Animals are consumers, they either eat plants or other animals, they cannot make their own food.

6) Humans are always at the end of a food chain, that is because we can eat plants and animals, all of which will have consumed energy at different points on the food chain.

7) If there is a change in the population of an animal or plant in a food chain, it can have a major and sometimes disastrous effectFor example, in Britain, when there were less sheep grazing on pastures, the number of red ants fell because the sheep had kept the grass short, which was just how the red ants liked it! This then led to the extinction of a large butterfly species that had eaten the eggs of red ants as part of its food chain. See? All living things are linked.


Step 3: How do Living Things Pass Energy from One Link to Another?

It's useful to now look with your child at the specific details of a food chain. We always encourage students to remember, that a food chain will usually start with a plant and end with an animal. The main purpose of a food chain is to pass energy from one link to another. So, when a herbivore eats a plant only a very small amount of the energy is retained in its body, the rest is spent on moving around or is lost as waste. This means that when a carnivore eats a herbivore, it only gains a small amount of energy. Therefore, a carnivore will have to eat many herbivores to gain the energy it needs!

In a food chain, there are primary consumers that will only eat plants. There are also secondary consumers, these are animals that have a carnivorous diet and eat herbivores/primary consumers. Now, have a look together at some of these examples below, which will prompt super discussion!

Example 1:

Image result for sun








From looking at this food chain, we can see that the grass is the producer as it uses energy from the sunlight to create food using the process of photosynthesis. Sunlight is not a producer but is used directly by producers and is the source of energy that all living things need to survive. The rabbit is a herbivore as it eats plants like the grass. The fox is a predator as it will hunt and catch prey, like a rabbit, to eat. The rabbit is a primary consumer and the fox is a secondary consumer.


Example 2:

Image result for sun










Above is a long food chain. The leaves are the producer in this chain and can make their own food through photosynthesis. The caterpillar is a primary consumer that eats the leaves. The bird is a carnivore and a secondary consumer as it eats the caterpillar. The fox is also a carnivore and a secondary consumer as it will eat the bird.


Step 4: Put Your Food Chain Knowledge to the Test!

Why not see how you both get on with the following questions together?

1) Look at the food chain below. Is the heron a predator or prey?





Dead leaves




2) What do food chains usually start with?

3) What does a food chain show?

4) Can you reorder the jumbled up food chain below?

Two frogs kissing in sparkles Falcon landing Corn snake in front of black background Grasshopper on a leaf Dew on a blade of grass







Step 5 - Activity Time!

Why not put your home-learning work on food chains to the test?  Assign your child the following activities in this order, and see how they get on. All activities are created by teachers and automatically marked.

Plus, with an EdPlace subscription, we can automatically progress your child at a level that's right for them. Sending you progress reports along the way so you can track and measure progress, together - brilliant! 


Activity 1 - Simple Food Chains

Activity 2 - Carnivore, Herbivore or Omnivore

Activity 3 - Identify the Predator and the Prey

Activity 4 - Recognise the Producer, Prey, Predator or Consumer

Activity 5 - Understand Long Food Chains



1) The heron is a predator because it hunts the frog to kill and eat it as part of its diet.

2) A producer, like a plant, as they can make their own food using energy from sunlight and the process of photosynthesis.

3) A food chain shows the passing of energy from one organism to another.

4) The correct order for the food chain is grass, grasshopper, toad, snake hawk.


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All English, maths and science from Year 1 - GCSE