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Everyone eats, right? But how does that food get the energy to power you? In this episode of Crash Course Kids, Sabrina talks about the way energy moves, or flows, through an ecosystem and how that movement forms Food Chains!

This first series is based on 5th-grade science. We're super excited and hope you enjoy Crash Course Kids!

///Standards Used in This Video///
5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that matter that is not food (air, water, decomposed materials in soil) is changed by plants into matter that is food. Examples of systems could include organisms, ecosystems, and the Earth.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include molecular explanations.]

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Executive Producers: John & Hank Green
Producer & Editor: Nicholas Jenkins
Cinematographer & Director: Michael Aranda
Host: Sabrina Cruz
Script Supervisor: Mickie Halpern
Writer: Jen Szymanski
Consultant: Shelby Alinsky
Script Editor: Blake de Pastino

Thought Cafe Team:
Stephanie Bailis
Cody Brown
Suzanna Brusikiewicz
Jonathan Corbiere
Nick Counter
Kelsey Heinrichs
Jack Kenedy
Corey MacDonald
Tyler Sammy
Nikkie Stinchcombe
James Tuer
Adam Winnik
Not everybody likes the same kind of food, right? That's probably a good thing. I mean, all the more pizza for me. But whether we eat milkshakes or mangoes, pizzas or pears, tacos or toast, we use the energy that's in our food to stay alive. But how did that energy get into our food in the first place? 

The answer is that energy flows between living things. It's almost like each form of food is a link in a chain. A food chain. You might have heard that humans are on the top of the food chain, because we eat pretty much everything. And except for the occasional video game monster and maybe the odd bear, nothing tries to eat us. But what is a food chain exactly? 

A food chain is a model that shows how energy flows between living things. You can think of animals and plants in the same food chain as all living in the same neighborhood, which scientists call a habitat, and they all have a job to do. Interacting with each other day in and day out. Together, they form a kind of system. A self-contained collection of different things that all work together as a whole. And they also interact with the nonliving stuff around them, like the water, the air, the ground and the sun. Put it all together and what do you get? A special system called an "ecosystem". And food chains show us what eats what in an ecosystem. 

Now, everything that's alive is in a food chain, including you, my friend. And actually, most living things are in more than one food chain depending on what or who they're munching on at the moment. I mean, you don't eat the same thing for dinner every night, do you? Didn't think so. Now, let's see how a food chain works by making a diagram of how these interactions happen in nature. 

First, all of the energy that's in a food chain starts with the sun. I can't stress that enough people. Plants take the energy from the sun's rays and change it into chemical energy so when a nice patch of lush, green grass starts to grow, it's capturing some of the energy from the sun to do it. Then, when an animal, like a rabbit, wanders by and nibbles on that grass, the energy from the plant is transferred into the rabbit's body. Now, if a hungry hawk decides that the rabbit would make a yummy supper, then the energy from the rabbit is transferred to the hawk. And in this ecosystem, nothing is large or brave enough to take on the hawk, I mean, just look at her. 

So, we've hit the top of the food chain and we've just made a nifty model of it. So, a food chain is a model that shows how energy flows between living things in an ecosystem. Energy in a food chain starts with the sun, which is turned into chemical energy by plants. And this energy moves up the food chain as animals eat the plants, and then other animals eat those animals. And speaking of energy, I'm starving. So, I'm off to take my place in the food chain. See you next time!