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This activity is a fun way of learning about the different living things in the coral reef and how they are connected.

This food web activity introduces young people to a range of animals that they may come across during a coral expedition. In this activity you will create a series of food chains connecting the different creatures that live in the coral reef. This will show how life in the coral ocean is connected.

What you’ll need

  • 5 x A4 piece of corrugated cardboard
  • 2 pieces of dowelling, twigs or wooden skewers (with pointed ends removed) about 20cm long
  • 1m of string or wool
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Colouring crayons, pens or pencils
  • Coral Oceans life cards (download them here)

Activity steps

  • Download and neatly colour in the pictures of the animals on the coral life cards (see ‘What you’ll need’ section).
  • Stick the coral life card sheet to the piece of cardboard.
  • Carefully cut out each of the cards.
  • On the back of each card, write the name of the living thing and a short description. Use the information from our Media Zone to help you linked from the ‘What you’ll need’ section.
  • Use the template for the coral food chain mobile to help you lay out your cards and lengths of dowelling or twigs, before you attach them together with string. An adult may wish to check over the order and placement before the different cards and sections are taped together.
  • Once you are sure you have the right order, you can use the tape to stick lengths of string to each card and then to the pieces of dowelling or twigs.
  • Once completed don’t forget to stick a piece of string to the sun, so you can hang your coral mobile up at home.

Safety guidance

  • This activity involves cutting out cardboard pieces, using glue and handling pieces of dowelling or twigs.
  • Cutting with scissors should be done using child-friendly scissors and under adult supervision.
  • If using wooden skewers as the wooden sections of the mobile, sharp ends should be cut off.
  • Care should also be taken handling the dowelling or twigs, and these sections should be laid on a flat surface or table as the mobile is being constructed.

More ideas
If the whole mobile is too complicated an idea to start with, consider making a single food chain first. Start by placing a ‘producer’ on a table. Search through all the other cards to find a consumer that eats that producer. You might have started with seagrass coral and then found the green turtle that eats the seagrass. See if you can make the chain longer by finding an animal that eats green turtle, and so on.

Find out more
When making the Coral food chain mobile, it will be useful to understand some of the key words used to explain feeding relationships and the transfer of energy:

  • Consumer: a living thing that relies on feeding on other living things for its energy, e.g. a parrotfish is a consumer because it eats staghorn coral or a manta ray is a consumer because it eats copepods.
  • Photosynthesis: the process by which producers create sugar (and therefore energy) from carbon dioxide and water using sunlight.
  • Predator: an animal that eats other animals, e.g. a tiger shark is a predator because it eats parrotfish.
  • Prey: an animal that is eaten by another animal, e.g. a parrotfish is the prey of the tiger shark.
  • Producer: a living thing that produces energy via photosynthesis, e.g. seagrass is a producer because it creates energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water rather than eating something else.

 

And this is what your food chain mobile should look like.

Activity Coral Food Chain Mobile Diagram

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