The Food Chain

This morning my sister-in-law and I took the kids to the animal museum at BYU so they could run around a bit and learn more about wildlife (like the wild "cantaloupes" of the African plains that S-Boogie saw). There was an exhibit on the food chain that suddenly brought back a memory of a lesson I learned in fourth grade.

It's interesting to remember those moments when my understanding of the world suddenly increased. I don't remember learning how to read, and I never had a single "talk" that revealed the mysteries of reproduction, but there are other facts that I can vividly remember learning. The food chain is one of them. I was living in Idaho at the time, and we often had lessons on Idaho history and ecology. I'm pretty sure this lesson was sponsored by the nearby center for birds of prey. We went outside on the playground to play a game. Most of us were "prey" and a few got to be "predators". The prey had to run around picking up pieces of paper that represented food, and the predators had to catch them. When you got caught by a predator, you had to give him all your food and go sit out. Unfortunately, at the end of the game, it was revealed that some of the "food" was contaminated with pesticides. Even though not all of it was, every predator had at least one piece of contaminated food that they had gotten from their prey.

Ever since then I've been able to understand the idea of a food chain, because I participated in it myself. And it was fun. That was also the age in which my rabid environmentalism was beginning to blossom. It lasted until some time during high school when I realized that I didn't like science enough to be a marine biologist or archaeologist. But I still love to read about biology and other science-related things. And I still remember that DDT will ruin raptor's eggs and that's why it's bad.

We also had a lesson from the Idaho council of pinto bean growers. They made us a pinto bean pie; it made an impression, but it wasn't quite so positive as the opportunity to become prey was.


Th. said…


Pinto bean pie!
TK said…
I love Sophie's calling the antelope's cantaloupes! Sounds good to me!
Kristeee said…
Little kids are so funny about how they learn what words are. We lived in Southern IL and had planned a trip to Cancun and my little bro told everyone we were going to Canned-Coon - sounded like a redneck delicacy to us!
AmyJane said…
We used to play predators and prey...must've been an Idaho thing!
Earth Sign Mama said…
If you go on a field trip in fourth grade to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomon's Island, Maryland, you play food web--it's a version of predator and prey. You definitely want to be an osprey and NOT zooplankton.
skyeJ said…
I want to be zooplankton. They are tiny, but where would we BE without them?

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