Ecosystems and Food Webs

Ecosystems and Food Webs aims to explore how animals within an ecosystem are dependent on each other. After discussing the concept of a food web, students will be given the opportunity to build their own food web using an iPad app. We’ll then investigate the effects of a declining species in a food web and students will be encouraged to source information and make predictions about how the ecosystem could react. There’ll also be a focus on a real-life conservation case study that ZSL are involved in.

Stony Coral Colony

Age group:  Years 7-9, Ages 11-14

Duration: 45-50 minutes

Capacity: 35 pupils


Key stage relevant (National Curriculum/Syllabus) links:

Biology: Interactions and interdependencies

Relationships in an ecosystem:

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

Working Scientifically: Experimental skills and investigations

  • Make predications using scientific knowledge and understanding


Intended learning outcomes:

Pupils will be able to:

  • Build a food web using technology
  • Gain an understanding of an example habitat and the species that live there
  • Source appropriate information about interdependence and make predictions about how an ecosystem might change if species’ abundance changes
  • Gain an understanding of what conservation work ZSL is doing in India


For this session:

Before your visit:

  • Give each student in the class a native British animal to represent. Ask each student to do some independent research into what their animal eats. Then, use lengths of string or ribbon to link the ‘animals’ together that eat each other. This will represent a native, British food web. As an extension, ask students to predict what will happen if certain species are removed from the food web.

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


Post-visit resources:

  • Ask students to recall the vulture case study talked about in the ‘Ecosystems and Food Webs’ session and the cause of their decline. Can the students find any other examples of toxic materials harming a food web?


Prepare for your KS3 Ecosystems session with our information pack.

PDF icon Pre-visit sheet KS3 Ecosystems (605.81 KB)