Who's in My Backyard?

Who's in My Backyard?

Use this infographic to see an example of a typical suburban backyard food web, and learn how energy is transferred through the different trophic levels within the food web.


5 - 8


Biology, Ecology

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Idea for Use in the Classroom

Introduce food chains and food webs to students and go through vocabulary associated with these concepts. Make sure to include terms that describe an organism by what it feeds on (herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore) and the trophic levels (primary producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer, tertiary consumer, and decomposer). Explain how energy from the sun is harnessed by plants through photosynthesis, and how this energy is then transferred from one organism to another through feeding.

Have students work in small groups to determine whether each animal species in the infographic is an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. Then ask students to research the diet of each species to confirm which feeding category into which they fall. Next, have students determine the trophic level of each species in the infographic based on how many steps it takes for energy to be transferred to a species and how many arrows lead to or away from a species. Finally, have students research each species to confirm their trophic level.

Extend this activity by leading a class discussion on the impacts of domestic dogs and cats on a backyard ecosystem. As a class, create a list of impacts on the board. Then sort students into small groups to research one of the suspected impacts to see if they are true or false. Then have each team report back to the class with this findings.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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