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Food Webs – Understanding What Happened When Wolves Returned to Yellowstone

To begin, students view a video about the trophic cascade that resulted when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone. Next, students learn about food chains and food webs. They construct and analyze a food web for Yellowstone National Park. Finally, students use what they have learned to better understand the trophic cascade caused by the return of wolves to Yellowstone.

This learning activity provides an introduction to the learning activities, Carbon Cycles and Energy Flow through Ecosystems and the Biosphere and Trophic Pyramids. All three of these activities are included in Food Webs, Energy Flow, Carbon Cycle and Trophic Pyramids, which is intended for classroom instruction.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

The Student Handout is available as a Google Doc which can be used for distance learning. As explained in the Teacher Preparation Notes, we offer another version of the Student Handout, which is available as a Word doc (see attachments below) and as a Google Doc. The Teacher Preparation Notes provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

foodweb remote no printer protocol.docx3.46 MB
foodweb remote no printer protocol.pdf957.26 KB


iwaldron's picture

2021 revision

We have revised the Student Handout to improve clarity and the logical progression of student understanding. We have introduced the use of Jamboard for students to construct the Yellowstone foodweb if you are teaching online. We have also fixed some problems with the food web cards.

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