Ecosystems for kids, Educational Fun Game Online

Ecosystems Pirate Game

Ecosystems for kids, Educational Fun Game Online. Learn about ecosystems in this Pirate Science game – This is an exciting game with multiple choice science problems. It can be played by one or two students. When a question pops up, choice the correct answer and keep doing the same. If you answer incorrectly, your ship is shot by the pirate. The player with the most damaged ship ends up sinking and being eaten up by the sharks. Science is fun !

In this game children will learn 'what are ecosystems ?', different kinds of ecosystem characteristics, habitats, related definitions, some species living in particular ecosystems etc. More: types of ecosystems, desert ecosystem, what is an ecosystem, aquatic ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystem, grassland ecosystem, ecosystems of the world

Teaching Kids About Ecosystems

An ecosystem refers to the interrelationships between living organisms and their environment and the exchange of material between living and non living components of that environment. It sounds easy to express in one sentence but how do you teach children what an ecosystem is?
By the time kids start learning about ecosystems they must have acquired some basic skills in life sciences about living and non living things, habitats and diets of different animals amongst others. Furthermore kids must have been fascinated by cartoons which portray lions as kings of the jungle, antelopes as eaters of grass etc. From a combination of such ideas, teachers can teach kids about organisms that are top of the food chain like carnivores e.g. lions, tigers etc, that feed on other animals like antelopes, zebras etc. The latter are called herbivores and they feed on grass and other herbaceous species. Herbs on which they feed are mainly green plants that manufacture their food with the aid of sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. At the bottom of the food chain are the decomposers like bacteria and fungi which aid in the decomposition of all dead organisms. The outcome of decomposition is the formation of humus soils.
A lesson on ecosystems for kids could start by a teacher first choosing a particular type of ecosystem e.g. savannah grasslands with animals, pond ecosystem, lake or ocean. Let’s imagine a teacher selected the savannah grasslands as an ecosystem. The different concepts that emerge from preceding sections could be simplified with worksheets and flash cards. Key concepts to note are: sun, primary, secondary, tertiary consumers and producers:
Primary consumers in a savannah ecosystem: These include insects like grasshoppers, beetles and crickets that feed on plants (grass).
Secondary consumers: Could include birds that prey (or feed) on these insects e.g. crows that pick up worms and crickets.
Tertiary consumers: These include larger carnivores e.g. eagles, lions, tigers, leopard etc that prey or feed on other animals.
It is worth noting that when these animals all die, they are transformed by decomposers into soil. Some examples of these earlier mentioned are bacteria and fungi which cause dead remains or plants and animals to rot.
It is evident from the previous section that the food chain plays a great role in material exchanges / linkages between different members of the food chain. The sun is another very important component of ecosystems. This is sometimes referred to as the engine of the food chain because it is the primary source of energy which triggers photosynthesis in plants.
Tips on how to teach ecosystems to children
A typical diagram of a food chain like the current one contains arrows indicating linkages between organisms and their environment. The concepts examined above also feature recurrently. In teaching kids about ecosystems, it is important to get them understanding all these about concepts. A good way of doing this is first of all to identify a list of organisms under the different categories (producers, primary, secondary and tertiary consumers). Teach them a bit about the diet of each organism. After that, create flash cards with these organisms on them (either name or picture), shuffle the cards and ask kids to classify them according to their diets. This could be in the form of a classroom group game in which teams that get the classification right are made winners over losers who can’t. After this exercise, place the different categories of organisms in their right positions (imagine an ecosystem diagram has to be drawn) and ask kids to place the various organisms under these categories. After that, ask questions about each organism and make a link e.g. how do plants manufacture their food? An arrow could be drawn from sunlight to green plants. Another question could be what do insects like grasshoppers and crickets feed on? Keep doing so until all the links have been established.
At the end of the exercise make a review of all concepts that have been learned and get kids to explain them in their own words. Find another ecosystem and attempt the same activity. Get worksheets about ecosystems and tell kids to classify different animals under various categories. Also make them to establish the links based on their understanding. From this point on you can try out different fun activities to reinforce understanding of all areas. Math4childrenplus has an interactive online game on this page with several multiple choice questions that will aid kids on this topic. It is a pirate game that can also be played in a group. It is free and can be shared.
Key concepts for kids to remember
Ecosystem, sun, consumers (primary, secondary, tertiary), decomposers, food chain and photosynthesis, carnivores, herbivores.