Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Holly Whitworth

Energy Pyramid -- Holly Whitworth

Part of Unit: Ecology

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

In this lesson, students will demonstrate their understanding of food chains and foods webs to then understand how energy is transfered through an ecosystem. Energy pyramids and the 10% rule of energy transfer will be analyzed from lab data.

Lesson Time

Instructional Time
88 Minutes

Objectives and Goals

  • Students will model ecosystem energy transfer.
  • Students will analyze laboratory collected data to create an energy pyramid.

Activities in this Lesson

  • Energy Pyramid Hooks / Set

    Students will be given a worksheet with a pyramid template on it.  As a class you will label the different levels using the key attached below.

    Resources and Materials

    • Student Energy Pyramid Worksheet [ Download ]
    • Teacher Energy Pyramid Template Key [ Download ]
  • Attached below as a pdf file you will find the teacher laboratory instructions as well as the student laboratory handout for this activity.  The purpose of this activity is to allow student to participate in a physical model of how the transformations of energy in an ecosystem flow from from sun to producer to primary consumer to secondary consumer to tertiary consumer can how this can be shown in a food chain.

    Resources and Materials

    • Energy Flow through Ecosystems Lab [ Download ] Teacher lab instructions and student handout
  • Energy flow lecture powerpoint can be used prior to or after the Energy Flow Lab.  The powerpoint presentation covers important vocabulary including producer, consumer, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, food chain, food web and includes some good picture examples of the terms.  Before presenting this information student should have some prior knowledge of photosynthesis and cellular respiration processes.  This will allow them to focus on the energy transfer process and the differences between food chains and food webs.

    Resources and Materials

    • Energy Flow Lecture [ Download ] Energy flow lecture powerpoint can be used prior to or after the Energy Flow Lab


On the worksheet given during the hook/set at the beginning of the lesson students will draw a minimum of 2 examples of organisms that exist on each level of the energy pyramid.  The worksheet will be collected at the end of class as their ticket-out-the-door.