Web of Life

Many creatures depend on one another in a pond ecosystem.

Creatures evolved in ecosystems. In this activity, students will demonstrate the interdependence of various creatures in a pond ecosystem.  They do this by creating  a web made of yarn.

Everything is connected.

Age level: 7 to adult.

Time: One hour

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will demonstrate how all creatures depend on others creatures for survival. .

Introduction:

Students engage their minds and hands in this activity.

Materials

Per Class:

  • Ball of yarn

Per student:

  • Creature Cards: print and cut out the following on cardstock to make cards (see below)

CREATURE CARDS

Goldfish

  • consumes bug larvae, algae, plants
  • produces CO2, nitrogen waste

Water Striders – (Gerris remigis)

  • consumes living and dead bugs, especially mosquito larvae
  • consumes O2
  • produces CO2

Azola Fern

  • consumes CO2,
  • produces oxygen,
  • creates home for nitrogen fixing bacteria

Anaebena Cyanobacteria – Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria

  • lives on Azolla fern;
  • consumes nitrogen gas (N2)
  • produces protein.  Important in rice paddies.

 

Free-living Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria

  • lives in water and in soil
  • consumes N2
  • produces protein.

 

Parrot Feather Bunch (Myriophyllum aquaticum)

  • Consumes CO2
  • Produces O2
  • Gives home to fish

 

Cattails

  • consumes CO2; nitrogen
  • produces oxygen, sugar, food for animals
  • Provides hiding place for fish and bugs

Duck

  • consumes cattails, plants, seaweed, fish, and oxygen.
  • Produces CO2, nitrogen wastes (for plants)

Water Lily

  • consumes nitrates, CO2
  • produces oxygen, sugars, flowers make nectar
  • provides hiding place for fish and bugs

Iris

  • consumes nitrates, COs
  • produces oxygen, sugars, nectar
  • provides hiding place for bugs

Canna Lily

  • consumes nitrates, COs
  • produces oxygen, sugars, nectar
  • provides hiding place for bugs

Irish Moss

  • consumes nitrates, CO2
  • produces oxygen, sugars, white flowers make nectar

Petunia

  • consumes nitrates, CO2
  • produces oxygen, sugars, flowers make nectar

 

Papyrus

  • consumes nitrates, oxygen
  • produces oxygen, sugars
  • provides hiding place for fish and bugs; first paper made with papyrus.

String Algae

  • consumes nitrates, oxygen
  • produces oxygen, sugars, food for fish, bugs, bacteria

Clump Seaweed

  • consumes nitrates, oxygen
  • produces oxygen, sugars, food for fish, bugs, bacteria

 

Bacterial Scavenger

  • Consumes dead plants
  • Produces CO2, nitrates

Frog

  • consumes water striders; bugs
  • Produces: CO2, nitrogen wastes

 

Bacterial scavenger

  • Consumes dead animals and plants
  • Produces CO2, nitrates

 

 

 

 

Mugo Pine

  • Consumes CO2
  • Produces oxygen

Impatiens Plant

  • Consumes CO2
  • Produces oxygen
  • Flowers provide nectar

Deer

  • Consumes plants, O2
  • Produces CO2, nitrogen waste.

 

Squirrel

  • Consumes plants, O2
  • Produces CO2, nitrogen waste. Drinks water from pond.

Portulaca

  • Consumes CO2
  • Produces oxygen
  • Flowers provide nectar

Painted Lady Butterfly

  • Consumes oxygen, nectar
  • Produces CO2
  • Pollinates flowers

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

  • Consumes oxygen, nectar
  • Produces CO2
  • Pollinates flowers

Water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides)

  • Consumes CO2
  • Produces oxygen
  • Blue flowers provide nectar

 

Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)

  • Consumes CO2
  • Produces oxygen, sugars,
  • Yellow flowers provide nectar

Nitrifying Bacteria

  • Consume ammonia (NH3)
  • Produce nitrate (NO3)

 

Denitrifying Bacteria

  • Consume nitrate (NO3)
  • Produce nitrogen gas (N2)

 

Mushroom

  • Consumes dead plants
  • Produces CO2,

Lichen

  • Consumes minerals
  • Creates soil from rock

 

 

 

Directions:

  • Give each student a Creature Card
  • Give ball of yarn to first student
  • Have them unwind yarn as they give ball of yarn to another student with a Creature card that their creature depends upon.

Resources:

Biology by Neil Campbell, Jane B. Reese, and Lawrence G. Mitchell. This outstanding biology textbook for college students is permeated with great information about evolution.
National Standards Addressed (NRC):