Visit the SC State Park Service's Web Site
program overview
mission statement
education endorsement
discover history
discover nature
program registration
Discover Carolina
program overview

Mountain Stream Ecology - Post-site Activities/Teacher Led

Grade Level: 5
Content Area:
Life Science
Time to Complete: 45 minutes
Title of Program: Carrick Creek Food Chain

South Carolina State Standards Addressed:

5-1.1 Identify questions suitable for generating a hypothesis.
5-1.4 Use appropriate tools and instruments safely and accurately when conducting a controlled scientific investigation .
5-1.6 Evaluate results of an investigation to formulate a valid conclusion based on evidence and communicate the findings of the evaluation in oral or written form .
5-1.8 Use appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations.
5-2.2 Summarize the composition of an ecosystem, considering both biotic factors and abiotic factors.
5-2.3 Compare the characteristics of different ecosystems.
5-2.4 Identify the roles of organisms as they interact and depend on one another through food chains and food webs in an ecosystem, considering producers and consumers, decomposers, predators and prey, and parasites and hosts.
5-2.5 Explain how limiting factors affect populations in ecosystems.

Program Description:

Based on field observations and aquatic collections done at Table Rock State Park, students will label a food chain that could exist in and along Carrick Creek.

Focus Questions:

1. What types of producers exist in a mountain stream?
2. Could some mountain stream consumers be considered scavengers?
3. What might be a dominant predator in Carrick Creek?
4. Do all food chains/webs in Carrick Creek begin and end in the water?

Culminating Assessment:

1. Evaluate the students' food chain collectively to determine which organisms they think are the most evident in Carrick Creek.
2. Choose one of the food chains diagramed and as a group, create a continuation of the food chain and include organisms that do not live in the stream to demonstrate the interdependence between stream and forest habitats.


field study notes
stream impact assessment worksheet
stream food chain worksheet

Teacher Preparation:

1. Have field study notes saved to be handed out to provide a reference for students to review what they observed at the park.
2. Make a list of possible forest predators that could be used in the food chain if the students need assistance in extending the food chain. (examples: raccoon, water snake, bull frog, waterthrush or kingfisher (birds), spider, etc.)


1. Hand out worksheets
2. On the Mountain Stream Assessment, have each student draw organisms in a food chain diagram and label each one.  All the organisms should be ones that live in and along Carrick Creek at Table Rock State Park.  Explain how and where larger predators obtain energy for living.
3. As a group, complete the Consider the impact worksheet.
4. If time permits, complete the culminating assessment as a group.


As an advanced or alternate project, the could work together and decide on a Carrick Creek food chain they would like to illustrate on a large piece of bulletin board paper to display in their classroom or outside their room in the hall.  The picture should have a title and the various organisms labeled in their correct stream habitat.

  Language Arts:
Write persuasive letters on environmental issues. For example, write a letter to your congressman/woman about the impact of humans on a place such as Table Rock State Park.
Draw and illustrate a book about the stream creatures for younger students.
  Social Studies:
Read A River Ran Wild by Lynn Cherry. Have students discuss the importance of streams and rivers in the lives of Native Americans and pioneer settlers.
Figuring pH and temperatures
Word problems
Stream creature prints: using print making techniques students can create cards or stationary to use as thank you notes for chaperones, family or friends.
Students can create their own stream creature and design it's habitat.
- Back to Program Overview -

Copyright 2001-2013, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. All rights reserved.