Science for Kids (2 of 3). The Challenge of Teaching Young Children About Food Chains.

Over-simplification is a danger in science education. While over-simplification might get the point across, it can imprint on the young coed a false knowledge that can remain for a long time. This impression in turn can basis resistance in later learning when future instruction may paint a different and more compositeness snapshot of the world. Food chains are a good case in point and I will try to explicable the pit falls in simplified instruction.

Text books or the internet bequeath often show a thrush feeding on an aphid, a snake on a rat, or a badger eating a snake. These are all unusual behaviours for these creatures, only possible in exceptional circumstances. The broader picture is that most animals are opportunists and will eat food that is easy to obtain and ideally needs the smallest like effort and danger. The limited amount of energy obtainable from very small prey, such as an aphid, means that only small birds such as blue tits will find it economic to search for them. This fuller explanation is more valid because it gives a sense of brisk spent versus gained. In addition, the physical structures of an animal, in this case the bird’s spout and weight, will also point to the general diet of the creature. And what is meant by a ‘snake’ which can be any of nearly 2,800 species, all with their own range of habitats et alii diets. ‘Snake’ is a meaningless designation. Only beside explaining these finer points, does a nutrimental constrain make sense.

The second fundamental incorrect in dealing with food chains is that very few diets are so restricted as to make all levels of hunter and prey both linear and singular. It ignores the variety, thus creating a web rather than a chain. In addition there is the factor of the variability of this food web over geography and time, such as periods of drought. In such times of stress, carnivores often eat carrion, because it is plentiful; similarly, some creatures, such as crocodiles, will stint to cannibalism on the point of starvation.

The third misconception created by the concept about food chains is the suggestion that the creature eats the same chow throughout its independent life. Juveniles of many creatures eat a different inflexible of food to their ripe counterparts, often determined per their size and, in the case of carnivores, their level of hunting ability. Showing food chains in diagrams can become problematic; the essence is providing notes to highlight these variables.

Grub chain theory is a good introduction to other branches of biological sciences and can often be taught together to play up these more factors that are part of ecosystems. Ecosystems are determined by physical because well as biological factors and each living creature in that environment has its own impact on the relationships. Ecosystems are not exact; they frequent blend gradually form other habitats, such as forest to savannah. Over time most ecosystems alter or ‘mature’, such as the succedent regarding dominant tree species in an undisturbed forest, leading to a ‘climax community’. All creatures extremity to be suited and adapted to blossom in that precinct because each ecosystem has its own set of physical furthermore biological factors. Ecosystems determine the creatures’ condition in the food chain within that environment. Quantity animals and plants can inhabit a range of ecosystems, and in the long term, this can spearhead to new species arising, providing populations that are isolated from each other. So, the bigger theories and ideas starting from gourmandize chains can lead to an understanding of ecology which in deviate can govern to the introduction of adaptation and evolution.

The last in this series of three articles want focus on the challenge of teaching young learners in the digital age when, on average, student spends six hours per day in front of the screen. The impact of this will indigen explored including underestimating young learners’ passively acquired knowledge.