2.2 Investigating Food Chains

On this page you will find a link to an HHMI Biointeractive activity that you can use to help students explore food chains and the human impacts on the food chains in Gorongosa National Park. There is also an option to do a pre-activity on Mozambique, the country where the food chains are located.

Student Task

  1. Read the information about Mozambique where the Gorongosa National Park is located. What does the information tell you about the development of Mozambique?
  2. Watch the film The Guide if your teacher has access to a copy (they can download it from the link). What links can you make to Topic 3 ( Biodiversity and Conservation) and Topic 8 (Topic 8: Human systems and resource use)? 
  3. Follow the instructions on the handout provided by your teacher from HHMI Biointeractive activity Creating Chains and Webs to Model Ecological Relationships .

 Mozambique Background

Mozambique is a country located in the south of Africa. It is located about 18° S and has a tropical to sub-tropical climate. The land is mainly coastal lowlands, uplands in the center, high plateaus in the northwest and mountains in the west[1]. It has natural resources of coal, titanium, natural gas, hydropower, tantalum[2] and graphite[1].

It faces the natural hazards of severe droughts, devasting cyclones and floods in central and southern provinces[1].

Current environmental issues include increased migration of the population to urban and coastal areas with adverse environmental consequences; desertification; pollution of surface and coastal waters; elephant poaching for ivory[1].

Mozambique Demographic Indicators

 

Approaches to Teaching

I have been using the HHMI Biointeractive activity Creating Chains and Webs to Model Ecological Relationships to help students interact with the concepts involved in the topic. I think the activity really encourages the students to ask questions and articulate their understanding. I am always impressed by the conversations that the activity brings about.

To provide context to the film, I have students read about Mozambique and then interpret some simple demographic indicators.

We watch The Guide which last about 34 minutes. You can download the film or order a dvd. There is also a shorter version available. This helps set the scene and give the students a visual context for their thinking. It also makes great links to Topic 3 and 8.

I give the students the student worksheet each and a copy of the double sided cards pre-cut between small groups of 2-4 students. The Educator worksheet is very helpful and provides answers to the questions but it is important to keep track of the student conversations and to intervene when necessary. I like to talk through the answers as they proceed through the activity.

 

Footnotes

  1. a, b, c, d https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mz.html
  2. ^ Tantalum is a highly corrosion-resistant metal used in laboratory equipment according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantalum)
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