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Mapping a Food Web

It’s not every day that kindergartners get to see a live hedgehog and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Thanks to the PNW BOCES Center for Environmental Education, they got to see those animals and a tortoise, too, over Zoom. 

The creatures are part of a lesson about food webs, which are the complicated structures that show who eats what on our planet. Educator Emily Groth delivered the interactive presentation several times to different classes, explaining that a food web is all the food chains put together. When she asked the students how plants eat, James Bojorquez, in Gina Sebastiano’s class, knew the answer,

“Plants get their food from water and the sun,” said James.

The classes learned that every living thing has its own job to do on earth, including the decomposers, such as worms and the cockroaches, who clean up any living thing that has died, from plants to animals.

“You may be thinking that’s kind of gross,” said Groth, “But imagine what our earth would look or smell like if we didn’t have our clean-up crew.”

The students met Miss Bethlehem, the hedgehog, when learning about small carnivores. The spiny mammal was taken in by a hedgehog adoption organization before starting her career as an educator.

“Why do carnivores eat meat?” Beckett O’Donovan asked.

“Over a long period of time,” said Groth, “All animals develop their preference in food based on whatever they think gives them the most energy.”

The kindergarteners wrapped up their lesson with a mission. They were told to find a plant outside their classroom window, draw it, and create a food web starting with that plant.