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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Digital Text

Regional Focus


Food Chains and Food Webs

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  • This resource details the ways in which food chains and food webs can represent the flow of energy and matter in ecosystems. 
  • Students will learn about autotrophs, heterotrophs, trophic levels, food webs, food chains, and decomposers. 
Teaching Tips


  • This resource provides a high-level overview of many important aspects of food chains and food webs. 
  • The included graphics offer further clarification and understanding for visual learners. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the concept and importance of ecosystems.


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made in language arts classes where students are working on non-fiction reading strategies.
  • This resource would lend itself well to a research-based jigsaw activity, where students do additional research on one of the sections of the resource to learn more about and present their learning to their classmates. 
  • Consider using the interactive assessment on the site about energy flow through ecosystems to gauge understanding and reading comprehension.
  • Connect this topic to climate change by using this video resource about natural climate solutions, this resource about the importance of biodiversity, and this resource about how climate change is impacting vital ecosystems on Earth.
Scientist Notes
The term food chain is kind of a misnomer, as really we exist within a food web, with sources of fuel coming from many different areas. This lesson on Khan Academy is well cited and clearly explains the topic of food chains and food webs. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas, themes, or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
      • RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.
      • RST.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-3. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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