In Ecosystems students will look at the relationships in an ecosystem, the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, including food webs and the importance of a balanced ecosystem for food security. Using ZSL case studies, students will investigate to fragile ecosystems that our scientists are working to protect.

Key Stage: KS3 (11-14 years old)

Duration: 45 minutes

Capacity: 35 students



National Curriculum Links:            


KS3 Geography

Human and physical geography

  • Understand how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on the effective functioning of natural systems


KS3 Biology

Interactions and interdependencies

Relationships in an ecosystem

  • The interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, including food webs and insect pollinated crops
  • How organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic materials.


Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Describe the key roles species play in an ecosystem
  • Recognise the differences between keystone species and their effect on the food web
  • Recognise the balance between food security and healthy ecosystems
  • Recognise the role humans play in securing ecosystems in the future                                                              

Real objects from the natural world used in this session are on loan from HM Revenue and Customs


For this session


Before your visit:

  • Ask you students to discuss and describe different large ecosystems in the world
  • Discuss with your class the requirements needed for a healthy food chain – what are the basic requirements?


While at the zoo:

  • Visit these fantastic animals that live in a range of different habitats:


Link to session

Location in the zoo


Polar biome


Bactrian Camel

Arid biome



Tropical biome

Base Camp


After your visit:

  • Research the different rainfall in each of the main biomes on Earth
  • Discuss how a change in rainfall may affect the systems within those biomes
  • Look at the evolution of a species in detail and see the key adaptations through time