So many fantastic plants and animals call the Great Lakes their HOMES. Their habitats are in or near the Great Lakes because that’s where they find the food, water, and shelter they need.

In this lesson, your child will choose a Great Lakes creature to learn more about – including what it eats and what animal eats it. Then, they’ll diagram a food chain. Students will see how the plants and animals that live in and around the Great Lakes are connected.

Time/Materials

This activity will take between 30 minutes and an hour.

You’ll need:

  • Computer
  • Paper
  • Drawing materials
  • Optional: printer

Ready? Head to the Classroom!

Watch the video below to learn about food webs.

Share the Learning

Ask your kids: What foods do you or your pet eat? Is it mostly plants or animals? What about the animals you see out your window or when visiting a Great Lakes habitat. Can you make a simple food chain for those creatures?

Activity

  • Option 1: Use our Web of Life page to create a food chain by drawing lines with arrows to show what is eaten by each of those creatures. If the creature is a plant, where does it get its energy from? Draw a line from its energy source to the creature. (You can find the completed food chain drawing on page 1 of our Web of Life lesson plan.)
  • Option 2: Choose one of the Great Lakes Creature Cards, and start a food web. Use the information on the back of the card to connect them to what they eat, and who eats them. Then connect those creatures to what they eat and who eats them. And so on! If you want to print Creature Cards: 1) Select double-sided print, 2) Select “Flip on short edge,” 3) Under page sizing, select “Fit” (rather than “Actual Size”).

Extra Credit

Parents: Take a photo of your Great Lakes food chain or food web, and share it on social media. Tag us in your creations, and we may share it with others! 

Deep Dive

Want to learn more? Check out these resources!

  • The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory has created sample food webs for each of the 5 Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair. Visit the GLERL website
  • Have fun making a Tangled Web of Great Lakes plants and animals with this Great Lakes in My World lessons for grades 4 and up. Students make a food web using yarn to demonstrate the connections between Great Lakes species, discuss the significance of the complexity of the web, and discover the impacts of changes to the web (e.g. overfishing, pollution).
  • Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit gives a Virtual Tour and an introduction to food chains and food webs in this interactive 17-minute video.
  • Learn food web vocabulary and more examples of Great Lakes plants and animals with this Food Chains and Webs activity from Michigan Sea Grant.

Find more Great Lakes lessons at H.O.M.E.School.