What is a forest?
How do we use forests?
What is happening to our forests?
Forests of the future
Stick the labels (sun, grass, sheep and person) to the back of four pupils and ask them to put themselves in the correct order – without talking – to indicate who gets energy (food) from whom. Once they are in the correct order ask them to guess what their label says. Discuss with the pupils that this is an example of a food chain. Can they think of others? Give each pupil a card from the Scotland role card set and a handful of lengths of string. Explain to the class that they are going to link up to the animal or plant which gives them energy.
Ask the pupil representing the sun to stand in the centre. The other pupils now ask the sun or the species which they get energy from for a piece of string. For example, the Scots Pine tree will ask the sun for string, the fungi and bacteria will ask all the animals and plants for string.
Discuss with the pupils that they have created a web of life. What do they notice about it? How are they linked? What is the ultimate source of energy?
Now ask the pupils to imagine that some of the forest is being cleared for a housing development. A bulldozer knocks down some of the trees. Pupils who are trees should sit down. Any species sharing a length of string with the felled tree should also sit down. Discuss with the pupils how they feel about what happened. At the end of the activity hold a plenary discussion using the questions below.
Forests support their own ecosystems and 'webs of life'. If one element is removed from the web it can have an impact on other organisms in the web.
Green plants are the only things that can make their own food. They make food from water and carbon using sunlight, a process called photosynthesis. Animals rely on the food made by plants by feeding directly on them or on other animals that do. Photosynthesis also produces oxygen which all living things need.
Human activity can impact on these webs of life in both negative and positive ways. Sometimes it is difficult to balance the different needs of people and forests. Lots of activities in this resource go on to explore this relationship.
Can pupils trace the contents of their lunch box / breakfast / evening meal back to a living plant and ultimately the sun?