Principles of Ecology


  • This “Biological Communities” activity uses soil samples to investigate relationships in a community.
  • Probe “Deer: Predation and Starvation” in this activity.
  • Identify the members of a “Food Web” and construct another web in this activity.
  • Have students do this “Principles of Ecology” (doc) crossword puzzle.
  • This “Food Webs” activity uses index card and colored markers to construct a Food Web on the chalk or white board.
  • Food Kerplunk” is a game designed to teach the preservation of wildlife in an ecosystem.
  • Do “The Principles of Ecology” (doc) wordsearch puzzle with answers (doc).
  • Try this “Food Webs” mystery game in four different ecosystems.
  • In this NOVA activity, “Volcanoes of the Deep,” students must use the internet to explore the symbiotic relationships between organisms found around hydrothermal vents.
  • This “Predator-Prey Simulation” uses squares cut out of index card to represent predators and prey.
  • A WebQuest “Exploring the Life and Ecology of Mono Lake.” This WebQuest includes instructions, resources, a rubric for grading, and teacher information.
  • Learn about the types of relationships found between organisms on a coral reef in PBS’s “Coral Reef Connections” activity.
  • View this “Carbon Cycle Diagram,” read about it, and answer the questions from thisTeacher’s Domainis activity (You must register for free to access).
  • Watch the “Ancient Farmers of the Amazon” video about the symbiotic relationship between Leafcutter ants and the fungi on which they feed along with another surprising relationship. This is also from Teacher’s Domain, and includes questions about the video.
  • Food Chain” is actually a food pyramid simulation that allows you to change the populations of organisms at various levels of the pyramid to see the results.
  • Try NASA’s “Chain or Web? Who Eats Whom?” classroom activity. It includes the food web cards.
  • Use the “Microcosmos” (pdf) guide while having your students view the movie MicroCosmos (which can be purchased at And have them do this “Microcosmos Video Worksheet” (doc) and “Microcosmos Video Activity” (doc) from Jessica Stelzner of the NSTA Listserve.


  • This NOVA “Night Creatures of the Kalahari” lab investigates the balance between preditors and prey.
  • See how salt affects the germination of seeds in this “Salt Tolerance of Seeds” (doc) lab.
  • “The Lynx Eats the Hare” (pdf) is a classroom simulation of predator-prey interaction from Flinn Scientific, Inc.
  • Dissect “Owl Pellets” to discover the other members of an owl’s niche.
  • Or go to the “KidWings” site to do virtual owl pellet dissections and view the flash movie that shows how owl pellets are formed.
  • For an online lab, try “Let’s Take a Dip” (pdf). The lab explores the organisms found in different habitats. This lab is designed more for middle school students.
  • In “Bottle Biology” soda bottles are used to investigate decompostion, fermentation, and the land-water connection. 
  • Sarah Faulkner of the NSTA Listserve provided this “Hide and Go Beak: A Study in Species Competition” (doc) lab.


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