Section 3 : Investigating animals: hunters and the hunted

Key Focus Question: How can you help pupils investigate how different living things feed?

Keywords: predators; prey; adaptations; observations; project; animals

Learning outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • used pupil observations of ecosystems and species to explore animal adaptations and behaviours
  • provided opportunities for pupils to share their knowledge
  • undertaken project work with your pupils.


Unlike green plants, which can manufacture their own food, all animals have to find and eat plants or other animals to survive. Hunting animals (predators) are adapted for finding and catching food in many ways. Animals that are hunted (prey) are also adapted to avoid being found, caught and eaten.

Pupils are often fascinated by studying feeding relationships and adaptations. In this section, we look at ways of encouraging pupils to ask ‘Why?’ questions using animals in your local environment. We also look at how to structure and record pupils’ observations of ecosystems and species.

1. Observing local ecosystems