Carnivore? Herbivore? or Omnivore?

By Laura Hospitál on Mar 01, 2015

Elementary school students learn about the various food sources that animals consume.  They learn the difference between organisms that make their own food (producers) and those that eat other organisms (consumers).  Among consumers, they differentiate between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores.

This activity assesses students understanding of the difference between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.  




  1. Prepare 3 labels of each: herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore in each student's reading medium.
  2. Write each students initials on his/her labels. 
  3. Place models of various animals in tubs at stations around the room.  Choose several omnivores, several herbivores, and several carnivores. 
  4. Place smaller containers (for labels) next to each tub.  


  • 6 Tubs
  • 6 smaller containers (I like to use the styrofoam container from a lb of mushrooms.)
  • Models of animals - some herbivores, some carnivores, and some omnivores 
  • Labels in print and/or braille for students as follows:
  • carnivore - 3
  • herbivore - 3
  • omnivore - 3




Picture of a shark in a tub and a container in which labels are located

  1. Each student will be given his/her labels upon entry to the classroom or lab.
  2. Explain to the class that at each station, students will choose which label correctly identifies the organism and place the label in the container next to the organism.
  3. Students will move around the room in a clockwise direction.
  4. The instructor will describe food sources of the animals as necessary.
  5. The instructor will assess by looking at the initials in each bin during and after class.   

NGSS Standards:

5th grade - Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems
  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem. (5-LS2-1)

Middle School: Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems
  • LS2.B: Cycle of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

Food webs are models that demonstrate how matter and energy is transferred between producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem. Transfers of matter into and out of the physical environment occur at every level. Decomposers recycle nutrients from dead plant or animal matter back to the soil in terrestrial environments or to the water in aquatic environments. The atoms that make up the organisms in an ecosystem are cycled repeatedly between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem. (MS-LS2-3)

  • LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer

Carnivore pin



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